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Old 12-09-2008, 03:36 AM   #401
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Detroit Pistons receive
C Murray Alexander

New York Knicks receive
SF Jeff Green

What this means for the Pistons
Alexander is, for the most part, an average all-around veteran, but his specialties in ferocious defending and shotblocking make him a worthy role player, so much so that he steps in as Detroit's new starting SF. Phillip Gill takes over at C, a curious choice given that Dan Jacobson is still the better option there, even at 34.

What this means for the Knicks
Green does a little bit of everything, but isn't really special. On the other hand, he's had occasional outburts of success in the playoffs and it's that and the expiring $6.9 million contract that make this an attractive deal for New York, particularly since Alexander didn't fit in their plans anyway.

Winner: Draw
If Jacobson was staying at C over Gill, this edge would go to the Pistons. As it stands, each side gets something worthwhile out of it, though from a pure team improvement standpoint, Detroit gets the nod.

Dallas Mavericks receive
SG Charles Arnold

Miami Heat receive
Dallas Mavericks 2022 1st round pick

What this means for the Mavericks
Dallas just guaranteed that they won't have a 1st round pick for 3 years in a row, but they don't care. Not when they've got Marcelino Augusto, Devone Allen and now Arnold, a sharpshooting 24 year old in his 5th season who gives the Mavericks 3 topflight scorers all under 25 years old. No legit C? No problem! Arnold's respectable on the defensive end too.

What this means for the Heat
Miami continues to try and rebuild, but this isn't the right way to about. It's going to be a late 1st round pick and Arnold was the type of player to help build up a team.

Winner: Dallas
The biggest highway robbery we've seen. In fact, this even trumps the Augusto trade. Have the Mavericks somehow gotten ahold of Denver GM Jestor's playbook?

San Antonio Spurs receive
SF Jon Wilson

Miami Heat receive
PG Kevin Carter
San Antonio 2022 2nd round pick

What this means for the Spurs
Wilson's fairly smart and can score and rebound some, but that's about it. Still, he represents an upgrade for San Antonio in their frontcourt and takes over as the starting SF.

What this means for the Heat
Miami tacks on a 35 year old PG who is the very definition of mediocre, a mid-2nd round pick and an extra $400k off the books next summer. This team's in such disarray, Carter's one of the first guards off the bench. It's going to be a long, long year in South Florida.

Winner: Draw
Fair value on both sides and neither player will make all that monumental an impact on their new teams.

After seeing Dallas's move and having all the worries and anxieties that have plaguing me over this whole too many frontcourt players, not enough time thing, I call around the league and pull off yet another blockbuster, the third biggest one I've done in Denver.

Denver Nuggets receive
SG Nigel Abel
Miami Heat 2022 1st round pick
Miami Heat 2024 1st round pick
Miami Heat 2023 2nd round pick
Miami Heat 2024 2nd round pick

Miami Heat receive
PF Mike Vines
C Victor Gipson
PG Jameel Williams
PG Javaris Crittenton
Denver Nuggets 2024 1st round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Abel's got a broken foot and he'll be out for another two months, but those first round picks should be lottery selections, particularly next year's 1st rounder. This also means that Denver's going to be over the rumored $15 million cap. But once Abel comes back, the Nuggets will have one of the most electrifying scoring tandems in the league in Abel and Mateen Yeaton and with Jonte Jones as a third option, Denver's offense just got that much scarier. Of course, their defense is going to suffer without Vines and they no longer have a scary shotblocker now that Gipson's gone. Viston Henry slides in as the starting PF and while the 22 year old has talent, he's extremely raw and undersized.

What this means for the Heat
The shakeup continues but in this case, they're actually getting quality back. Vines is an erratic scorer, but he's one of the best lockdown defenders in the league and legitimatizes the frontcourt as the new starting PF. Gipson slates as the starting SF, giving Miami a big, big body at the 3 who can shotblock with the best of them and bring toughness and accurate shooting to the Heat. Williams and Crittenton were cut.

Winner: Miami
Denver's defense is going to be horrific, they're over their self-imposed cap and they won't really start getting the benefit out of this deal for another couple months. Meanwhile, Miami is so much improved, both now and the future, we wouldn't be surprised to see them turn into a late lottery team this year, rather than a probable Top 5 pick like it seemed they originally would be.

It was a ballsy move, I admit and yes, our defense is going to suck, but if we start losing, I'm not afraid to pull the trigger on something else to bring in another defensive body. We're short on players, so I re-sign Jameel Williams, bring back Al Thornton and pick up Kyle Acani, who's a great FT shooter with some scoring instincts, decent ballhandling and some good fundamental defense.

As fate would have it, our first game with this new look is against the Heat and we come out of it with a 120-104 win. Mateen Yeaton scores 36, Jonte Jones doubles for 25 points and 13 rebounds and Jeremy Bellairs and Carlton Goree contribute 13 and 12 points off the bench respectively. Mike Vines scores 26 in his Heat debut and Victor Gipson's first game in black and orange is good for 15 points and 12 rebounds.

David Jackson rewards my faith in him with 23 points and 12 rebounds in our next game, a 110-100 win over Orlando. Louis Mertens passes out 13 points and 18 assists and Jeremy Bellairs and Carlton Goree ignite the bench again with 10 and 14 points a piece.

Mark down another victory for us since the trade, 115-97 against the Wizards. Jonte Jones is the man of the night with 30 points and 15 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 25 and Carlton Goree picks up 12 points and 9 assists off the bench. It's our first huge margin win of the new lineup and it feels great.

Perhaps the biggest signifier of just how much the trade has positively affected our team is the 110-96 rout... of... the Raptors. In Toronto, no less. A far cry from the 110-88 beatdown they gave us in Denver in November. The weird thing is, we're doing it a balanced offense, as we have just two statistical stars tonight; Jonte Jones with 28 points and 11 rebounds and Jeremy Bellairs with 13 points in reserve time.

That means we're 2-0 to start our annual brutal 7 game road trip stretch in the East. Make that 3-0 after we edge the Knicks 99-91 as Jonte Jones stays hot with 20 points and 24 rebounds, Carlton Goree rockets off the bench for 22 points and Jeremy Bellairs trails in Carlton's cosmic wake with 14 points himself.

I don't know how Philadelphia is off to the hot start they are. They're not that good and their success is one of the biggest mysteries of the season. They beat us 104-90 on the front end of a doubleheader, giving us our first loss since the trade. It's also only the second time we've failed to score 100 points since then. David Jackson doubles with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Jonte Jones has 12 points and 14 rebounds and Carlton Goree scores 10 off the bench, but we stunk it up tonight. Happily, we rebound to bounce Boston 95-82 the next night and guarantee ourselves a winning record for the road trip. Jim O'Brien experiments with Vinston Henry at SF and Jeremy Bellairs at PF and Henry pulls down 15 points and 14 rebounds after being moved to his more natural position of the 3. Mateen Yeaton leads all scorers with 26 points, Jonte Jones plugs along with 16 points and 13 rebounds and David Jackson is magnificient off the bench with 16 points and 10 rebounds, though he's peeved about the demotion.

We flat-out stink the final two games of the road trip. Miami destroys us 118-93 and nevermind Mateen Yeaton's 20 points, Louis Mertens's 12 points and 12 assists or Carlton Goree's 10 bench points. David Jackson gets the nod at PF against Orlando, but we're just as bad in getting spanked 111-95 to the Magic in spite of Mateen Yeaton's 31 points and Jeremy Bellairs's 10 points as a reserve. Jonte Jones has been struggling with a strained toe and that, combined with the jet lag from a marathon road trip, has us just playing exhausted those last two games.

It's when we drop the ball and lose 105-101 to Phoenix at home that I start getting worried. Vinston Henry scores 23, Louis Mertens manages 10 points and 11 assists and Carlton Goree scores 10 off the bench, but Jim O'Brien keeps toying with the lineup, inserting Jeremy Bellairs at the 4 and pissing off David Jackson.

The losing skid hits four as we lose to lowly Seattle 108-96. Mateen Yeaton may have scored 30 and David Jackson might have gotten 13 bench points, but this is just ridiculous. I don't give a damn about Jonte Jones's toe injury; he's dragging ass out there and so is the rest of the team.

David Jackson is furious at being kicked out of the lineup and he barges in my office demanding to be traded to a team that will appreciate him as a starter. Now, I could've called Jim O'Brien and told him to put 50 Ninja back in the lineup, but this point, I'm so sick of his moodiness that I call his bluff and grant his wish.

Denver Nuggets receive
C Martin Beerbohm

New Orleans Hornets receive
C David Jackson
Denver Nuggets 2023 2nd round pick
Miami Heat 2023 2nd round pick
Sacramento Kings 2023 2nd round pick
Miami Heat 2024 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
50 Ninja's public temper tantrums over playing time finally caused GM Jestor to get rid of him and bring in Beerbohm, who, like Jackson, is excellent at drawing fouls. Unlike Jackson, Beerbohm can actually convert the chances he gets at the charity stripe. He's also a good defensive rebounder and becomes the replacement shotblocker when Victor Gipson went to Miami. Not a bigtime scorer and as foul-prone as the recently departed Ninja, but Beerbohm's an extremely intelligent player, one who tired of the losing environment in New Orleans and politely asked to be given a new team. Time will only tell if he becomes as popular in Denver as Jackson was before wearing out his welcome.

What this means for the Hornets
One thing that Jackson brings to the table is the ability to really pound the offensive glass. He's also a significantly better ballhandler and passer than Beerbohm. But then again, he's not going to like going to a losing squad, even one where he could be a loved celebrity like New Orleans and he's certainly not going to be happy about having the same 6th man role in Denver, as he's initially projected to have.

Winner: Denver
Even though the trade bloats their payroll a little more, from a locker room standpoint alone, this deal makes sense for the Nuggets. Beerbohm also matches up better with Denver's weaknesses and the team can now hopefully reverse course of its four game losing streak.

I hated doing it, but I had no choice. Jackson didn't care much about the Rings Quest; he only wanted a starting job. His obsession with it cost him, pushing even me, one of his most ardent supporters, to the breaking point.

It's also depressing because he was one of the guys I drafted and right now, Tzvetan Kishishev is our only player on the active roster selected by me. Super trader, crappy drafter. Yep, that's me.

At least Christmas is happier this year, as we snap our losing streak by beating the Mavericks 109-97. Mateen Yeaton scores 29, Vinston Henry grabs 17 points and 12 rebounds at PF, our newest Nugget, Martin Beerbohm, playing the 3. Carlton Goree tops the second team with 14 points. Golden State tries their damnedest to spoil Christmas Day, but Mateen Yeaton and Jonte Jones, our only 2 players in double-digit scoring, prevent that fate with 33 points and 26 points and 17 rebounds to secure the 100-93 win.

We -finally- solve the 76ers riddle, dropping them 113-103 as Mateen Yeaton rips through them for 35 points, Jonte Jones hustles for 23 points and 15 rebounds and Louis Mertens is unstoppable all night for 15 points and 13 assists.

It's a miserable New Year as we blow a fourth quarter lead, falling 106-104 to the Lakers. Jonte Jones has 33 points and 19 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton scores 29, but so fucking what? The Clippers add to our misery, beating us 93-87 the next night. Way to ring in the New Year. I can't cheer Mateen Yeaton's 20 points or Louis Mertens's 17 points and 12 assists or Jeremy Bellairs's 10 bench points.

Martin Beerbohm hasn't done shit since he got here and I blame him for a large part of why we're 21-10, two games behind Portland for the Northwest lead. Dallas has a ridiculous 8 game lead on the Spurs at 21-8, while the Clippers are living up to the preseason hype, 22-8 and a game ahead of the Kings.

Orlando's claimed the top seed in the East at 21-8, the Hawks four back in the division. The Knicks are 21-9, 3 games in front of the slowly climbing Raptors in the Atlantic. 20-10 Cleveland enjoys a two game advantage over the Bulls, who are finally starting to something with all that talent they've had lying around.

The only, lonely happy news is that Miami's got the worst record in the NBA at 5-28. In fact, the only game they won this month was against us.

No unhappy players, but a very unhappy GM who's going to trade Martin Beerbohm away at the trade deadline. I'm also not adverse to trading away Jeremy Bellairs or Vinston Henry if I can get something good enough for them.

We're the worst damned 21-10 team in the history of the league and it's all my own damned fault.

I'm too depressed to post comparisons.

I do have a plan for the deadline, if the guy I'm targeting isn't traded of course.
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2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
Izulde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 02:17 PM   #402
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Milwaukee Bucks receive
SG Larry Bannister

Orlando Magic receive
SF Louis McNeish

What this means for the Bucks
The 28 year old Bannister is an absolute lockdown defender with some good shooting abilities. He can also rebound pretty well for a guard and steps in as Milwaukee's new 6th man.

What this means for the Magic
McNeish is a great rebounder, but it says something that he can't even get past a 35 year old Corey Brewer on the depth chart. He's a 12th man, with absolutely no scoring instincts and nothing else of value outside his rebounding.

Winner: Milwaukee
The Bucks net themselves a significant upgrade without having to give up anyone of any importance.

Philadelphia 76ers receive
PF T.J. Roberts

New Jersey Nets receive
SF Rodney Carney
Philadelphia 76ers 2022 2nd round pick

What this means for the 76ers
Roberts is a versatile shooter with some rebounding ability, but his greatest asset is probably his locker room personality. Still, $8.9 million and a three year commitment is a steep price to pay for a 6th man.

What this means for the Nets
Sure, Carney can play four spots, C his only omission, but he's 37 years old and has no skills. The reason he's in a Nets uniform is because of his $9.2 million expiring contract.

Winner: New Jersey
Roberts is nowhere near good enough to make up for the financial flexibility the Nets just gave themselves. Excellent salary dump by New Jersey here.

Charlotte Bobcats receive
SG David Chambers
New Jersey Nets 2022 2nd round pick

New Jersey Nets receive
PG Sveto Lepinat

What this means for the Bobcats
Chambers may be shooting over 55%, but the 22 year old third year man (18th overall, Cavaliers, 2019) is lazy, the most undisciplined player in the league and completely sags on defense. A puzzling acquisition, though he'll slot in as the 7th man.

What this means for the Nets
The 19 year old Slovenian Lepinat, in his second season, has the ability to develop into a respectable passer and scorer, but he'll get lit up for 20+ points a game on a regular basis; he's that bad on the defensive end.

Winner: New Jersey
Neither player is anyone to get excited about, but Lepinat's potential trumps anything Chambers offers.

Detroit Pistons receive
SF Andre Iguodala

Boston Celtics receive
SF Rudy Gay

What this means for the Pistons
At 37, Iguodala is little more than an average bench player and worse yet for the Pistons, they're actually sacrificing $700,000 in expiring money to get him.

What this means for the Celtics
Gay's a lot like Iguodala. 37 years old, average bench player. But Gay's got a bigger expiring contract, is a better ballhandler and much more disciplined. He also ranks as Boston's 7th man, much higher than Iguodala's mid-bench burial.

Winner: Boston
Detroit gives up money and gets back nothing for it. Moves like that never make good business sense.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
SG Marcus Harrell
Charlotte Bobcats 2022 2nd round pick

Charlotte Bobcats receive
C Micholau Asprilla

What this means for the Lakers
The rookie Harrell is completely non-descript and he won't see much playing time, even on a team as underwhelming as the Lakers are this season.

What this means for the Bobcats
21 year old Spainard Asprilla has the potential to turn into a decent reserve big man, but he's so raw right now, he really should be playing in the D-leagues, rather than gathering dust on the end of Charlotte's bench.

Winner: Draw
Harrell's much more developed, but Asprilla has the much higher ceiling. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear Charlotte's willing to do what it takes to get him there.

Talk about a busy last couple seasons in the trade market. We'll be doing the same ourselves come the deadline, I'm sure.

Nigel Abel comes back this month. In 19 days, to be exact. Getting him is going to be a huge boost to our team and I just hope we don't keep playing as wretchedly as we have without him.

Sweeping the opening doubleheader helps a lot. Mateen Yeaton scores 27, Martin Beerbohm has his first decent game for us with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Carlton Goree adds 14 bench points in our 107-99 win over the Spurs. We slaughter the Rockets 115-86 as Jonte Jones runs wild for 34 points and 12, Louis Mertens snags a double-double of 11 points and 13 assists and Carlton Goree scores 11 off the bench.

The Kings smash us 111-98 in Sacramento as we can't do much outside of Jonte Jones's 16 points and 20 rebounds and Tzvetan Kishishev's 10 bench points. We snap back the next night at home to destroy the Lakers 131-98, avenging our New Year's Eve loss. Jonte Jones puts up 28 points and 16 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton has himself a 33 point shooting clinic and Jeremy Bellairs and Carlton Goree headline the second team with 13 and 11 points a piece.

Vinston Henry's moved back to his native SF spot and rewards us with 22 points in our 124-118 victory against Minnesota. Jonte Jones repeats his 28 point, 16 rebound performance, Mateen Yeaton scores 26 and Louis Mertens scores and passes his way to 17 points and 16 assists. At this stage in the game, we're taking every win we can get, no matter how close.

I'm stunned in a good way when we take both games of a road doubleheader. The Warriors can't counter the dual threat of Jonte Jones (29 points, 19 rebounds) and Mateen Yeaton (23 points), and Carlton Goree finishes it off with 14 bench points in tthe 105-87 victory. Seattle's been completely lost without Scott Palmer and Jonte Jones pounds them for 32 points and 17 rebounds as we beat them 106-93. Martin Beerbohm breaks through for 22 points and Carlton Goree continues to be a terrific reserve with 10 points.

In the last game before a certain someone's debut, Jonte Jones throws down 37 points and 13 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton scores 26 to carry us to a comfortable 108-77 win over the Grizzlies. I'm very happy with how we handled the run, but to be honest, we had the advantage of a ridiculously soft schedule. The one good team we played during this stretch was Sacramento and the Kings kicked our asses.

Now it's time to see what happens with Nigel Abel in the lineup. We get him just in time for a nasty five game road trip against the Mavericks and all the Central teams but Cleveland.

...Well, Nigel Abel scores 27 in his Nuggets debut and Jonte Jones has 25 points and 17 rebounds, but we shoot worth crap and the Mavericks beat us for the first time since Marcelino Augusto came to Dallas. In fact, they stomp us 108-88 and they're celebrating like they just won the damn championship trophy. Whatever.

The doubleheader against Chicago and Detroit gets mixed reviews. Nigel Abel erupts for 40 points, Mateen Yeaton scores 23 and Tzvetan Kishishev pulls down a surprising 13 bench boards as we beat the Bulls 110-103. But then Detroit drops us 118-107 the next night, despite Nigel Abel's 37 points and Louis Mertens's 15 bench points. It doesn't help that Jonte Jones bruises his sternum and is at 80%. We also need to get Vinston Henry moved back to SF. He's been getting killed on defense. And of course, I'm not even going to talk about that other jackass.

We salvage the road trip with a pair of victories in the last back-to-back. Milwaukee goes down 101-92 on Nigel Abel's 26 points, Martin Beerbohm's 17 points and 11 rebounds and Louis Mertens's 11 points and 10 assists off the bench. Indiana surprisingly gives us hell the next night and we have to make a furious fourth quarter comeback to win 102-99. Jonte Jones bails us out with 26 points and 24 rebounds, Jeremy Bellairs a capable second with 10 bench points.

A nasty doubleheader test awaits us at the end of the month. Jonte Jones gets the second-ever triple-double in my tenure with 28 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to power us 114-104 over the Knicks. Nigel Abel scores 30 and Carlton Goree adds 12 off the bench as all five starters score 13 or more. But even 30 points from Nigel Abel and 28 points from Mateen Yeaton can stop a 107-95 road loss to the Traiblazers. Neither of our forwards can shoot with any consistency, I've noticed and that really hurts us in a game like this.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Jonte Jones breaks his toe and is gone for exactly two months.

That injury news takes quite a bit of the shine off the fact that we're 32-14, back in front of the Northwest by 2 games despite the loss to Portland, who stand in second place. There's three teams all bunched up top, as the Mavericks are 32-12 and the Kings are 32-13. Dallas has a digusting 12.5 game lead in the Southwest, while Sacramento's fending off the Clippers by the same two games that we are the Traiblazers.

In the East, Orlando's the current #1 team in record at 32-13, 4.5 ahead of the Hawks in the division. 28-16 Cleveland has a 1.5 game lead on the Bulls in the Central and the Knicks are still ruling the Atlantic at 30-15, though the Raptors are making up ground in a hurry and sit just 1.5 games back.

Miami's still the worst team in the league at 8-39 and I'm loving the feeling of that lottery ticket in our pockets.

Here's the starting lineup with Jones out.

PG Mateen Yeaton
SG Nigel Abel
SF Vinston Henry
PF Jeremy Bellairs
C Martin Beerbohm

And remember all that potential Bellairs supposedly had? Turns out it's a complete mirage.

Fortunately, help is just a phone call away.

Denver Nuggets receive
C Victor Gipson
Los Angeles Clippers 2022 1st round pick

Miami Heat receive
PF Jeremy Bellairs

What this means for the Nuggets
Gipson was miserable in Miami and demanded to be shipped somewhere else as soon as possible. After the injury to Jonte Jones, GM Jestor was only too happy to re-acquire the big, accurate shooting shotblocker specialist. The first round pick is going to be a late one, but the Nuggets once again have 3 first rounders in next year's draft and 2 first rounders in 2023. Although Gipson will initially start back at the 3, don't be surprised if he moves to C, should Martin Beerbohm struggle in Jones's absence.

What this means for the Heat
Bellairs becomes the new 6th man and heir apparent to Mike Vines at PF. He won't suddenly turn Miami into a winning team or indeed even drag them out of the cellar, but he'll give them a solid all-around, consistent 6th man forward who won't be furious like Gipson was.

Winner: Denver
This trade between the two most deal-heavy teams in the league certainly favors the Nuggets. Jestor gets one of his original draftees back in the lineup, where the monster can be a mismatch and he parlays it into an extra first round pick besides. Miami paid far too much to get Bellairs. This should've been a straight up trade.

Victor's so happy to be back in Denver, he comes in person to the office to ask me for a contract extension. I ask him to wait because we're $21 million over the cap as it is and as of right now, we're going to be well over the $15 million limit next season, too and the ownership isn't going to stand for that.

He's disappointed, but says he understands.

Martin Beerbohm -has- to go. That's all there is to it. Not only do I absolutely despise him as a player, but if I can deal him at the deadline for an expiring contract, we can free up the money we need to have some flexibility. That's not saying we'll manage to extend Gipson, because we've still got three first round draft picks coming down the pike, but anything we can do to give us some wiggle room will help.

The comparisons, belatedly.

Paulinho Buboltz
2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.6 PPG 8.1 APG 3.5 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 7.5 APG 3.3 RPG 0.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2021 Stats: 44 games/44 starts - 22.3 PPG 7.0 APG 3.6 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.6 SPG

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.5 APG 4.7 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.6 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.0 PPG 2.7 APG 4.6 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 46 games/46 starts - 23.3 PPG 3.0 APG 4.2 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.2 SPG

It'll be interesting seeing how much Mateen's stats are affected by the shift to PG. He's not a real 1 and it's not the system I prefer to run, but having him and Nigel Abel as a backcourt is going to go a long way to making up for our lost firepower with Jonte Jones out of comission for two months.

Marcelino Augusto
2020 Stats: 63 games/63 starts - 26.7 PPG 9.1 RPG 3.1 APG 2.1 BPG 1.0 SPG
2021 Stats: 44 games/44 starts - 23.8 PPG 10.3 RPG 2.9 APG 2.6 BPG 0.8 SPG

Jonte Jones
2020 Stats: 66 games/66 starts - 22.2 PPG 12.2 RPG 2.7 APG 1.3 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 46 games/46 starts - 20.2 PPG 13.2 RPG 2.6 APG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
__________________
2006 Golden Scribe Nominee
2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
Izulde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2008, 11:42 AM   #403
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
"All right, so justify to me why you're starting Beerbohm at center and not Gipson."

Jim O'Brien and I are sitting in my office to discuss the state of the team in the wake of Jonte Jones's injury. I've just asked him to tell me why he's gone with the new lineup he has.

"Beerbohm can drive inside, pick up enough fouls to get opposing big men in trouble and convert the free points. Besides, I know you're planning on trading him at the deadline. He hasn't done very well at either of the forward spots, so I thought we could showcase him at center to enhance his trade value."

I'm not entirely sold on that reasoning, but I nod in agreement to it.

"All right. But then why aren't you putting Gipson at the four least?"

Jim smiles, tapping his finger on my desk.

"Because there's a hell of a lot more high scoring threes than fours in this league. Victor gives a size advantage there and his shotblocking ability can pay significance dividends. I'd also point out that he did a pretty good job of containing Durant in last year's playoffs."

"Fair enough. But I'm going to be making another change."

"Oh? What's that?"

I grin and indicate my cell phone.

"We have two franchise player shooting guards on this team. That's one too many, especially when neither one is a legitimate point guard. Fortunately, I have a certain player on a certain team who I'm very much interested in bringing in."

Jim leans forward, curiosity in his eyes, "Oh? And who's that?"

"You'll find out later today."

After some good natured grumbling at my refusal to give up the name, our head coach leaves, leaving me free to call the GM of the specific team in question.

"Hello, Pete? Jestor here."

"Ah! Hello, Mr. Jestor! How can I help you today?"

Pete Lebraggio. Won a championship with Chicago in 2008 and has bounced around the league working different GM jobs since then. This year he took over a team in need of a major rebuilding.

"How would you like a franchise shooting guard?"

I hear the sound of a phone dropping with a clatter, before a breathless Pete picks it up.

"What?! You mean to say you're willing to trade Mateen Yeaton?!"

"Well.... it's like this..."

Five minutes later, we have a deal.

Denver Nuggets receive
PG Paulinho Buboltz

Indiana Pacers receive
SG Nigel Abel

What this means for the Nuggets
The fates of Buboltz and Mateen Yeaton were forever linked following the blockbuster trade in the 2013 offseason that saw Buboltz to Indiana, Yeaton to Denver, but now they'll be playing together in the same backcourt. Buboltz is more of a shoot-first PG, but he's a legitimate point man. More importantly, he allows Yeaton to move back to the two spot, his natural position and the Nuggets signficantly reduce their cap number for next season. Buboltz can fill up the stat sheet with points and steals and generate a fair number of assists. Not a great defender overall, though.

What this means for the Pacers
Indiana had the reverse problem of Denver, holding two elite level point guards in Buboltz and 22 year old Keith Attaway, who's blossomed into a franchise player in just his third season. Acquiring Abel enables the Pacers to shift Attaway to PG, where his devastatingly gorgeous passing and ballhandling can be put to maximum effect. Abel's also a very good defender who's won quite a few scoring titles since joining the league and even at 31, he can still win them.

Winner: Both
The move drastically benefits each team. Denver now has the type of high-octane backcourt with capable point guard that should carry them until Jonte Jones comes back from his broken toe and the storyline of Buboltz and Yeaton in the same backcourt is a merchandising and ratings bonanza. Indiana will sell a ton more tickets from fans wanting to see Abel put on dazzling shooting displays and the Pacers will be improved on court as well, probably winning some more games than they otherwise wold.

It was a gutsy move, but the right one to make for both our teams, I think. Now on to the other trades, the ones that happened in January proper.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
SG Jeff Culuko
New Orleans Hornets 2022 2nd round pick

New Orleans Hornets receive
SG Ronald King

What this means for the Lakers
Culuko has a decent outside shot and scoring instincts, but he's horrible everywhere else. On the other hand, trading King frees up playing time for Marcus Harrell, whom the Purple and Gold believe can be a special kind of player.

What this means for the Hornets
King, an extremely raw 24 year old, in his second season. He has an absolutely filthy 3 point shot and considerable potential as a scorer and defender. Still developing his understanding of the game and won't ever be even an average ballhandler or rebounder, but he could become a valuable 6th man/possible SG in the future.

Winner: New Orleans
We aren't convinced as the Lakers are about Harrell's potential and King at least can provide instant offense right now. He'll have time to develop the other areas of his game.

Minnesota Timberwolves receive
SG Mike Townsend
Phoenix Suns 2022 2nd round pick

Phoenix Suns receive
SG Jason Pettaway

What this means for the Timberwolves
Townsend is of so little value, he doesn't even rate an active roster spot. This is about Minnesota getting a high 2nd round pick in next year's draft.

What this means for the Suns
Pettaway's a pretty good shooter and the 25 year old former 1st round pick (17th overall - Timberwolves - 2018), can play some D and grab some rebounds. But there's a slew of guards on the Suns roster and he'll struggle to find minutes.

Winner: Draw
If Pettaway was actually getting playing time, this would be a no-brainer for the Suns. But since he's not, it becomes a complete wash in a frankly boring trade.

Los Angeles Clippers receive
PG Jack McKnight

Miami Heat receive
SF Saul Carstensen
Los Angeles Clippers 2022 1st round pick

What this means for the Clippers
The 19 year old McKnight has excellent potential as a scorer and could become an acceptable passer, though he seems more suited as two-guard rather than a legit one. He'll never be even an average defender, but with McKnight, Kueth Hill, Austin Forte and Rasheed Wheeler, the Clippers have a sensational set of four young guards in the making.

What this means for the Heat
Yet -another- trade by Miami gives padding of a 1st round pick, but it's essentially worthless given how late it's likely to be. Carstensen is 34, a complete non-entity and a mediocre $3.9 million expiring contract.

Winner: Clippers
The Red and White are rapidly assembling the pieces to become a new dynasty, if not in the West, then at least in the Pacific. Not only do they have those four, they also have Andre Davis and Dontay Williamson, who are quickly becoming star players and Bill Townsend still has game at 30 years old. Meanwhile, the Heat continue to sink to ever lower depths.

Man, the Clippers are just insane with the team they've put together. In fact, I'd call them the most serious challenge to our Rings Quest, both now and in the projected future. They've got a fantastic starting five and only the lack of a quality big man on the bench could stop them from achieving great things.

Paulinho Buboltz and Victor Gipson both have successful games upon their return to Denver. Buboltz scores 25 and Gipson gets 12 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks in our 103-92 win over Golden State. Mateen Yeaton scores 30 and Martin Beerbohm does surprisingly well with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

A divisional doubleheader's delightful as we beat both teams. Vinston Henry scores 20 in our 99-87 win versus the Jazz after getting moved to the three and in the same game, Tzvetan Kishishev scores 16 off the bench and Louis Mertens gets a reserve double-double of 12 points and 10 assists. We run roughshod over the Timberwolves 111-79 as Mateen Yeaton scores 21, Paulinho Buboltz plays like a real, live PG with 19 points and 18 assists and Martin Beerbohm actually looks good with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocks. Tzvetan Kishishev has his second straight 16 point game and fellow reserve Chezley McCleary comes out of nowhere to surpass him with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

It takes OT to do it, but we stay unbeaten for the mnth by beating Cleveland 127-122. Mateen Yeaton scores 35, Vinston Henry adds 21 points, Martin Beerbohm picks up a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out and we get another game of fantastic bench play. Louis Mertens shines with 18 ponts and 13 assists, Chezley McCleary pulls down 14 rebounds and Tzvetan Kishishev continues his white-hot streak with 14 points on a 6 of 7 night.

New Jersey pounds us 113-100 on the road to hand us our first February loss. We couldn't play defense to save our lives and Martin Beerbohm's 11 points and 12 rebounds can't cut it against that, not even with the help of 15 points a piece from Carlton Goree and Tzvetan Kishishev to lead the second team.

But we're in a great frame of mind heading into the All-Star break, thanks to a doubleheader sweep. We smash Atlanta 105-77 as Mateen Yeaton scores 28, Martin Beerbohm nets 12 points and 17 rebounds and Carlton Goree shoots for an electrifying 21 points off the bench. Our 100-82 victory the next night in Charlotte is keyed by Mateen Yeaton's 30 points and Paulinho Buboltz's 28 points.

Darren Davis, despite being a D-Leaguer, gets invited to the Slam Dunk competition and stuns everyone by winning the whole gosh darn thing, the first time I've ever had a player participate, much less win it. It's an exciting accomplishment and I could see Davis developing a role and career path similiar to Tzvetan Kishishev's.

The Sophomores thump the Rookies 95-80 and Jon Ward looks like a man among boys in scoring 23 points for the game's MVP award. I still can't believe he wasn't the first pick.

East destroys West 96-79 and yet for some bizzare reason, Paulinho Buboltz is named MVP. Yes, our starting PG scored 19 points as the starter for the West, but when the margin's that large for the final scoreboard, you don't give the MVP to the losing team in my opinion. Mateen Yeaton made it back to the All-Star game but got the Ben Gordon treatment, snubbed for even a minute of playing time. The Pacers landed both Nigel Abel (starter) and Keith Attaway (reserve) on the East. Great to see that backcourt out there.

We play our last card at the trade deadline.

Denver Nuggets receive
PF Tyrus Thomas
C Teofil Shubinsky
Boston Celtics 2024 2nd round pick

Boston Celtics receive
C Martin Beerbohm

What this means for the Nuggets
Thomas may be 36, but he can still score and play very good to excellent defense. He's disciplined, he's smart and he takes over the starting PF role. But what may be most attractive about him from the Nuggets standpoint is his expiring $8.1 million expiring contract. Shubinsky is a good passer for a big man and has some defensive instincts, but the 24 year old Pole and former 1st round pick of the Rockets (16th overall - 2017) is an end of the bench player. Victor Gipson takes over at C.

What this means for the Celtics
The C's aren't going to turn into winners any time soon and Beerbohm gives them a player for the future. He'll step in at Thomas's old spot at PF, but the shotblocking genius with the uncanny ability to draw fouls and convert FTs is really Spencer Hawes's heir apparent at C.

Winner: Draw
Good trade for both teams. Thomas shores up the Nuggets' weakest area and gives Denver financial flexibility, while Beerbohm is another piece of the rebuilding puzzle to add to Will Baron, Jermaine Butler and Jon Costello.

I almost took Costello as well, since Boston was quite eager to acquire Louis Mertens and I love Costello's defense and upside, but retaining him would've made paying out money that I simply can't tie up in a PG when Paulinho Buboltz is on the roster.

Ironically enough, it's those same Celtics we play that very night after the trade goes through. We demolish them 113-74. Mateen Yeaton scores 23, Paulinho Buboltz issues 19 points and 14 assists, Victor Gipson grabs 18 points and 12 rebounds and Tzvetan Kishishev scores 10 off the bench. I'm very happy with the result, because not only did Gipson prove me right about making him C, but Martin Beerbohm shoots a weak 2 for 10 on the night, continuing his anemic floor conversion that was one of the reasons why I was so eager to trade him. Yeah, he was getting those double-doubles for us, but most of his points were coming on free throws, as he simply can't hit a shot from the floor to save his life. I'd also like to gleefully point out that only one Celtics starter scored in double-digit figures. That was Jon Costello with 10.

The Grizzlies are clawless against us and we romp 113-93 on three players with 20+ points--Mateen Yeaton (25 points), Paulinho Buboltz (24 points) and Victor Gipson (23 points). It's a neat staircase sequence that has me grinning the whole game.

I've such a good feeling about this team now that not even our fourth quarter meltdown against the Hornets in New Orleans, where we're outscored 35-21 to squander a lead and lose 107-99, can faze me. Mateen Yeaton scores 33 in that game, Victor Gipson gets 11 points and 17 rebounds and Louis Mertens has 13 points and 9 assists off the bench.

The month ends with a terrific 110-90 victory over the Hawks. Paulinho Buboltz scores 27, Carlton Goree adds 14 points off the bench, Louis Mertens does even better with 24 points and Tzvetan Kishishev makes it three reserves with 10+ points, scoring 11.

But the victory comes at a terrible price, the biggest blow we've experienced yet this season.

Mateen Yeaton - Broken Leg - Out 50 days

Thus, while we're 41-16 and have a narrow lead for the top seed in the conference over 40-15 Dallas and 39-19 Sacramento and a 3 game lead on the Trailblazers for the division, the next month is going to very tricky to try and navigate. By the way, the Mavericks are up 15.5 games on the Spurs, the Kings barely fending off the Clippers by half a game.

Orlando has the lead in the East at 37-18, but the Knicks are 37-20 and the Raptors are only a half-game back of New York. The Magic have a 4.5 game lead over the Hawks in the Southeast while the Chicago Bulls have taken control of the Central at 34-20, but Cleveland's a half-game back, Milwaukee 1.5.

Miami's still hanging on to that worst team mark with 10-48. That's a 17.2% winning percentage for those of you keeping score at home. Indiana's 11-45, winning 19.6% of their games to be the #2 team.

So what does our lineup look like now?

PG Paulinho Buboltz
SG Louis Mertens
SF Vinston Henry
PF Tyrus Thomas
C Victor Gipson

...Yeah. We're in big trouble.

Halfway Leaders

Scoring
1. Galen Drayton (DET) - 29.1
2. Nigel Abel (IND) - 24.7
3. Antonio Sarchet (PHX) - 24.6
7. Mateen Yeaton (DEN) - 23.3
8. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) - 22.2
14. Paulinho Buboltz (DEN) - 21.1

Assists
1. Corey Neal (NJ) - 10.9
2. Bernard Kelly(MEM) - 10.7
3. Kenny Graham (SAC) - 10.6
8 players overall averaging double-digit assists so far.

Rebounds
1. Greg Oden (TOR) - 15.4
2. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 15.0
3. Jonte Jones (DEN) - 13.2

Blocks
1. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 3.6
T2. Walter Hicks (NJ) - 3.3
T2. Patrick Riley (SAC) - 3.3

Rookie Leaders

Points
1. Bernard Legans (WAS) - 16.2
2. Rasheed Wheeler (LAC) - 14.4
3. Jamarcus Wilson (PHI) - 13.3
4. Ronnie Fry (MEM) - 11.2

Assists
1. Jason Griffin (HOU) - 5.6
2. David Cormier (NO) - 4.7
3. Ameirin Qipiani (SA) - 4.4

Rebounds
1. Ronnie Fry (MEM) - 6.4
2. Jarrod Hill (SEA) - 6.2
3. Jamarcus Wilson (PHI) - 5.1

Bocks
1. Mark Wilson (NO) - 1.1
2. Jamarcus Wilson (PHI) - 0.7
T3. Ameirin Qipani (SA) - 0.5
T3. Marcus Harrell (LAL) - 0.5

Speaking of rookies, Darren Davis is averaging 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.5 steals for the Colorado Timberjacks, who are 19-16, better than most predicted before the season started.

Paulinho Buboltz
2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.6 PPG 8.1 APG 3.5 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 7.5 APG 3.3 RPG 0.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2021 Stats: 55 games/55 starts - 21.1 PPG 7.2 APG 3.4 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.5 SPG

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.5 APG 4.7 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.6 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.0 PPG 2.7 APG 4.6 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 57 games/57 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.8 APG 4.3 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.4 SPG

Ironically, we're going to need Buboltz to step up and be The Man in point scoring. I just don't see it coming out of our other starters on a consistent basis, nor out of our bench.

Marcelino Augusto
2020 Stats: 63 games/63 starts - 26.7 PPG 9.1 RPG 3.1 APG 2.1 BPG 1.0 SPG
2021 Stats: 55 games/55 starts - 22.2 PPG 10.1 RPG 2.7 APG 2.5 BPG 0.8 SPG

Jonte Jones
2020 Stats: 66 games/66 starts - 22.2 PPG 12.2 RPG 2.7 APG 1.3 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 46 games/46 starts - 20.2 PPG 13.2 RPG 2.6 APG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG

The next month is going to be really rough as you can imagine. No Yeaton, No Jones. At least we get Jonte back after that and we should get Yeaton back just before the playoffs start.

I'm not looking forward to the next 33 days, I can tell you that much.
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:07 PM   #404
TonyR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
Super trader, crappy drafter. Yep, that's me.

I don't know if I can agree since you drafted Marcelino Augusto, but then traded him.
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:36 PM   #405
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Wow, these injuries are really testing your depth this year. Paulino and Mateen, you certainly know how to make headlines. This should be interesting.

You have Miami's first rounder for this coming draft? Should be a good one!
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:30 PM   #406
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
TonyR: Ouch. Fair point. Though I'd say point to Jonte Jones's Finals MVP award last year and Augusto's first-round flameout and say it's not so bad as it looks.

Autumn: No kidding! I can't believe how much we've been afflicted by the injury bug this year. And that's without reporting the nagging injuries that crop up.

WRT to the 1st round picks, thus far it breaks down like this over the next three years:

2022
Miami Heat
Chicago Bulls
Los Angeles Clippers

2023
Toronto Raptors
Dallas Mavericks

2024
Miami Heat

So if our luck holds, we should be able to find some more valuable young pieces over the next few seasons. I'm also firmly convinced that Vinston Henry is a star in the making and that he'll become the first big free agent signing by us to pan out.
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:29 PM   #407
Izulde
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When Mateen Yeaton went down screaming on the court just three minutes into our final game of the month, our expectations for the regular season changed completely.

No longer could we realistically expect to challenge for the #1 seed. We now had to face the reality that at best, we could hope for the division title and probably the #3 or #4 seed.

I don't know where our offense is going to come from this month; I really don't. While we have guys on the team that can score, nobody strikes me as having that take charge, be consistent night in and night out, mentality like Yeaton and Jonte Jones. I think Vinston Henry can reach that level at some point, but he's not there yet.

But we have to play with the cards we've been dealt, misfortunate though they are.

Speaking of dealing, let's review February's trades.

Sacramento Kings receive
SG Andrew Bayno
Indiana Pacers 2022 2nd round pick

Indiana Pacers receive
SF Rick Smith

What this means for the Kings
Bayno is an average all-around backup guard, though the 26 year old does have some versatility with being able to play SF. He doesn't stand out in any one area and he doesn't have any real weaknesses, save for an inability to make defensive highlight plays.

What this means for the Pacers
The rookie Smith is four years younger than Bayno and can make the big highlight play on defense on occasion, but he doesn't have scoring instincts and he's a horrible ballhandler. He's also not exactly lighting up the D-League, averaging 7.7 points in 3 games as Albuqurque's 6th man.

Winner: Sacramento
Bayno's more polished and more versatile and the Kings get an extra draft pick besides.

Orlando Magic receive
PG Mikhel Zukauskas

Phoenix Suns receive
SF Charles Garren

What this means for the Magic
The Lithuanian Zukauskas is an extremely solid veteran PG, the 32 year old capable of passing the ball and scoring equally well. He's only an average defender though and mediocre at the free throw line. That said, he'll step in at the point and give Orlando a pretty good starting backcourt in him and Mike Conley.

What this means for the Suns
Garren, taken 9th overall in 2012 by the Washington Wizards, has never lived up to lofty expectations. But the 29 year old will still score some, grab a few rebounds and make a few steals. He slides in as the new PF in Phoenix after Suns star Antonio Sarchet was lost for the year in November with a torn knee tendon. He's also a $12 million expiring contract, which may end up being his greatest asset.

Winner: Draw
The deal benefits both teams without being an exclamation point. Orlando gives up financial flexibility to try and make a title run, while Phoenix improves their payroll health for next year and simultaneously begin clearing out the logjam in their backcourt. There's still an absurd glut, though.

Ouch on Sarchet, who I came -this- close to trading for in the offseason. Good thing I didn't.

Nigel Abel against Louis Mertens's porous defense. Yeah, that's going to go over well. I'm predicting 40 points from Abel and a home loss against Indiana to start the month. I end up wrong on both counts. Abel scores 19 and we obliterate the Pacers 117-96. Victor Gipson has been amazing since returning and he tops 3 Nuggets with 20+ points, scoring 28. Vinston Hentry is second with 24 points and Paulinho Buboltz is terrific with 22 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. Carlton Goree leads the reserves with 13 points.

All that offense evaporates in a 91-76 loss to the Clippers, our lone highlight Tzvetan Kishishev's 11 bench points. I'll be honest; the Clippers scare the shit out of me. It's a young, deep, talented team that's going to give us nightmares over the next several years of our Rings Quest. I really hope we never have to meet them in the playoffs, especially not this year.

A 103-87 loss to Portland really, really hurts. Victor Gipson's 18 points and 16 rebounds and Paulinho Buboltz's 17 points and 12 assists are nice, but we're struggling to score points right now and it's going about as bad as I thought it would.

We catch a breather in a back-to-back against two bad teams and win both. Victor Gipson plays phenomenally in our 114-95 win over the Spurs, with 24 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 blocks. Paulinho Buboltz makes an excellent scoring sidekick with 31 points. It's Paulinho Buboltz executing great plays again as we beat Phoenix 102-82 the next night. He finishes with 24 points and 11 assists on the same evening Tyrus Thomas elevates for 25 points and Carlton Goree scores 15 off the bench.

Defense and Paulinho Buboltz's 34 points grant us a 96-84 win in Charlotte. Vinston Henry grabs a double-double good for 10 points and 11 rebounds and Carlton Goree keeps building on his supersub reputation with 12 points.

We play somewhat better, but another game against the Clippers means a 102-91 loss, even with Paulinho Buboltz's 19 points and 13 assists, Victor Gipson's 24 points and 14 rebounds and Tzvetan Kishishev's 12 bench points.

Every win is a welcome win at this point, even when it's ugly as in our 98-84 triumph versus Milwaukee. Victor Gipson nets 15 points and 17 rebounds, Louis Mertens finally has a good game at SG with 22 points and Carlton Goree adds 12 points off the bench.

Vinston Henry puts up 24 points and our defense goes into lockdown in a 113-80 blowout of the Wizards. Tzvetan Kishishev and Carlton Goree continue to be our top reserves with 14 and 13 points respectively.

You know it's a bizzaro world from NBA tradition when the Clippers are the team that makes me break into a cold sweat and it's the Lakers who serve up our most complete game of the month, maybe even the year, in a 122-76 laugher. Vinston Henry has his second straight 20+ game with 23 points, Tyrus Thomas pulls down a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds and three bench players earn highlight nods: Carlton Goree (14 points), Tzvetan Kishishev (11 points) and Chezley McCleary (14 rebounds).

Remember how I said earlier that I think Vinston Henry could be a Yeaton or Jones someday? Well, he's getting there now, if his third straight 20+ game, good for 27 points and 17 rebounds, is any indication. His stepping up earns us a ridiculously huge 106-98 victory against the Kings, though credit also goes to Victor Gipson (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Carlton Goree, who came off the bench to score a sensational 25 points after Paulinho Buboltz had an 0 for 6 night in just 18 minutes before fouling out.

A road game against the Suns proves surprisingly tough, but we withstand their fourth quarter rally to emerge with a 100-94 victory. Paulinho Buboltz scores 28 and Tyrus Thomas and Victor Gipson stack on double-doubles of 16 points, 10 rebounds and 15 points, 15 rebounds to be the three heroes of the contest.

Great 120-85 win in Utah against the Jazz. Paulinho Buboltz scores 21, all five starters hit double-digit scoring and Carlton Goree has a fantastic 25 points off the bench. I still see him as our future at PG, even though he keeps ending up in a 6th man role and playing great in it.

Although we drop both games of the final back-to-back of the month, I'm impressed as hell with how the team's played overall after losing both our stars to injury. The Spurs beat us 102-90 as we shot horribly all night and only had Victor Gipson's 20 points and 12 rebounds to show for it and we shoot even worse the next night in a 109-95 pummeling by Portland, Victor Gipson's 13 points and 15 rebounds, Carlton Goree's 10 bench points and Chezley McCleary's 12 bench rebounds notwithstanding.

So where does it all leave us with 10 games left in the season?

51-21, leading the Northwest by 2 games over Portland and in 2nd place in the conference behind 53-19 Dallas. The Mavericks clinched the Northwest early in this month because the Spurs are only 34-39 while the Clippers have built a 47-26 record that gives them a game and a half advantage on the Kings.

No 50 game winners out East and the New York Knicks have usurped the top seed with a 48-23 record. Toronto's a game and a half behind both in the Atlantic and the #1 seed chase. 45-28 Orlando seems perpetually stuck on a 4.5 game lead over the Hawks in the Southeast, while the Central looks this:

Cleveland - 44-27
Chicago - 44-28 - 0.5 back
Milwaukee - 43-29 - 1.5 back
Detroit - 39-33 - 5.5 back

The Miami Heat have widened their gap as the league's worst team at 12-62. Bad for them, good for us.

In D-League news, Bakersfield already has the West long sewn up at 36-10, but Colorado lurks just half a game out of second with a 24-21 record and Darren Davis is posting 11.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.5 steals. Our scouts with the Timberjacks also tell us he projects to possibly have more upside than we originally anticipated, though I expect he'll need another year or two of seasoning down there before he joins our bench. I'm not terribly fond of that 43.9% shooting.

I still see him as a possible guard version of Tzvetan Kishishev, our Bulgarian who I absolutely love. In other words, a bench player who can score points and play excellent lockdown type defense.

But the happiest thought on my mind right now is that we've weathered the storm. Jonte Jones will be back for our next game and while we won't get Mateen Yeaton back before the regular season is over, he'll return just in time for the playoffs.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:19 AM   #408
TonyR
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Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
TonyR: Ouch. Fair point. Though I'd say point to Jonte Jones's Finals MVP award last year and Augusto's first-round flameout and say it's not so bad as it looks.

I didn't mean it like that just that you did not give yourself enough credit drafting.

Also, you have done an excellent job with this dynasty you are making me want to buy DDS:PB, but don't know if I should wait until 2 comes out.
I already bought CK because of you (and enjoy it very much so).
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:53 PM   #409
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyR View Post
I didn't mean it like that just that you did not give yourself enough credit drafting.

Fair enough. Admittedly, I think it'd be safe to say that I've gotten better at drafting as the dynasty goes on. David Jackson, Victor Gipson, Tzvetan Kishishev, Marcelino Augusto... all pretty good draftees, but on the other hand, Jackson and Gipson were lottery picks (even if Gipson was late lottery). Oh, I also drafted Paulinho Buboltz of course, who's turned out pretty well, though it took him forever to finally start playing like his talent level. I'd have to say that so far my best value pick has been Kishishev, who I snapped up at 18th overall.

Also, you have done an excellent job with this dynasty you are making me want to buy DDS:PB, but don't know if I should wait until 2 comes out.
I already bought CK because of you (and enjoy it very much so).[/quote]

Thanks! Glad to hear you really enjoy CK. I wish they'd make an honest to goodness sequel of it, but the EU and HoI series are the cash cows, so they're the ones that get all the love, while CK and Victoria wallow in the dust.

As for the 1 vs 2 issue, I can say that I immensely enjoy 1, but the features for 2 promise to be very exciting indeed.

If you only have the money for one game and/or if you can afford to be patient, I'd say wait for 2. If you've got money for both and/or are impatient and wanting something to tide you over, consider getting 1.
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:37 PM   #410
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Here we go, running headlong into the last ten games, complete with Jonte Jones back in the lineup. Our newly configured starters are:

PG Paulinho Buboltz
SG Louis Mertens
SF Victor Gipson
PF Vinston Henry
C Jonte Jones

Not sure I like Tyrus Thomas being punted to the 6th man slot. I call Jim O'Brien and ask him to give Thomas the starting PF spot back and he refuses. I sure hope he knows what he's doing...

Jonte Jones has a great first game back with 28 points and 12 rebounds and Paulinho Buboltz scores 24, but we get blown out 111-93 by Memphis on the front end of a back to back. Tyrus Thomas had 10 bench points, but it was on an atrocious 2 for 11 shooting. We barely beat the Hornets 110-104 the next night and it's Jonte Jones and Paulinho Buboltz combining for 20 points and 23 points and 11 assists respectively that does it. Oh, Carlton Goree's 16 bench points helped considerably too.

I'm not happy with how we've been playing as a team the first two games of our star center coming back and we continue our bad form, splitting the next doubleheader as well. Paulinho Buboltz scores 26, Jonte Jones nets 11 points and 11 rebounds and Tzvetan Kishishev leads the second team with 10 points but Minnesota beats us 116-102. The next night sees a 117-111 win over Seattle, but the Sonics are terrible, so it's nothing to get excited about despite Jonte Jones's 23 points and 18 rebounds and Carlton Goree and Tzvetan Kishishev coming off the bench for 18 and 10 points respectively. Vinston Henry has been a big problem. He can't play defense against these bigger fours and he gets neutralized on offense against them.

Vinston Henry redeems himself with 20 points against Golden State as we wallop the Warriors 103-88, but we should be 5-0 so far this month, not 3-2. Paulinho Buboltz contributes 25 points and 11 assists, Jonte Jones 20 points and 12 rebounds. Carlton Goree highlights the reserves with 10 points.

Or maybe we just needed time to gel. Vinston Henry unloads on the Hornets for 29 points in our 118-98 whipping of New Orleans. Jonte Jones puts up 25 points and 12 rebounds and hasn't really had a bad game since coming back. Paulinho Buboltz distributes 13 points and 11 assists and Carlton Goree (18 points) and Tyrus Thomas (15 points) are magnificient off the bench.

We win the revenge match against the Grizzlies, shredding them 117-74. Jonte Jones leads the way with 21 points and 16 rebounds, Louis Mertens hits 20 points, Paulinho Buboltz has 18 points and 10 assists and Carlton Goree and Tyrus Thomas each score 12 in reserve duty. The next evening, we top Houston 116-109 thanks to a superb third quarter and Jonte Jones abusing the Rockets for 40 points and 14 rebounds. Paulinho Buboltz garners a double-double of 15 points and 16 assists before fouling out and Tyrus Thomas and Carlton Goree are aces of the subs again with 10 and 18 points a piece.

With two games left in the regular season, we've clinched at least a #3 seed. We're pretty much out of the running for the #1 seed, which will go to Dallas, but if we can hold off Portland, who are a game and a half behind us, we win the division and the #2 seeding.

The Suns are doused 117-93 on Jonte Jones's 28 points and 17 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz's 25 points, Louis Mertens's 12 points and 11 assists and 12 and 15 points off the bench from usual suspects Tyrus Thomas and Carlton Goree.

This maintains our 1.5 game lead against the Trailblazers, but we host Portland the next night for our final regular season game. Win and we clinch. Lose and we have to hope they lose their final game.

For the first time all year, we beat them. 114-92's the final and Jonte Jones is in early MVP form with 42 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, a block and 3 steals. Vinston Henry gets a cheap double of 10 points and 10 rebounds and Paulinho Buboltz does the same with 10 points and 10 assists. Carlton Goree scores 10 off the bench and what a key part of the team he's been this season.

West Conference Seedings
1. Dallas Mavericks (61-21)
[b]2. Denver Nuggets (59-23)
3. Portland Trailblazers (56-26)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (53-29)
5. Sacramento Kings (48-34)
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (46-36)
7. Utah Jazz (40-42)
8. San Antonio Spurs (38-44)

As it turns out, not getting the top seed is a blessing in disguise this year. It means we won't have to face the Clippers until the conference finals if they make it that far.

East Conference Seedings
1. New York Knicks (55-27)
2. Toronto Raptors (55-27)
3. Orlando Magic (52-30)
4. Cleveland Cavalies (49-33)
5. Milwaukee Bucks (48-34)
6. Chicago Bulls (47-35)
7. Detroit Pistons (44-38)
8. Philadelphia 76ers (41-41)

41-41 Atlanta gets shafted as they lose the tiebreaker for the 8 seed. It's hard to predict just how the East is going to shake out this year. I'll still give Toronto the nod as the probable repeat East conference champions, though.

D-League
The Timberjacks failed in their quest for the #2 seed and in fact plummeted to the #4 seed at 26-24, where they have the unenviable task of going against #1 Bakersfield in the first round of the playoffs.

Final Leaders

Scoring
1. Galen Drayton (DET) - 28.9
2. Nigel Abel (IND) - 24.8
3. Antonio Sarchet (PHX) - 24.6
7. Mateen Yeaton (DEN) - 23.3
8. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) - 22.5

Assists
1. Bernard Kelly(MEM) - 11.2
2. Kenny Graham (SAC) - 10.9
3. Calvis Graham (LAL) - 10.8
8 players overall averaging double-digit assists.

Rebounds
1. Greg Oden (TOR) - 15.0
2. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 14.3
3. Jonte Jones (DEN) - 13.2

Blocks

1. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 3.5
2. Walter Hicks (NJ) - 3.1
3. Patrick Riley (SAC) - 3.0

Rookie Leaders

Points

1. Bernard Legans (WAS) - 15.7
2. Rasheed Wheeler (LAC) - 14.0
3. Jamarcus Wilson (PHI) - 12.9
4. Ronnie Fry (MEM) - 11.6

Assists
1. Jason Griffin (HOU) - 6.0
2. Ameirin Qipiani (SA) - 5.3
3. David Cormier (NO) - 4.4

Rebounds
1. Ronnie Fry (MEM) - 6.5
2. Jarrod Hill (SEA) - 6.2
3. Jamarcus Wilson (PHI) - 5.1

Blocks
1. James Bellairs (IND) - 1.3
2. Mark Wilson (NO) - 1.1
3. Jamarcus Wilson (PHI) - 0.9
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:21 PM   #411
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Been a busy season, so I'll let the article talk for me.

"Once again the road to the Finals for the Nuggets goes through their own Northwest division, with the Jazz up first and, should Denver advance, either Minnesota or Portland. In fact, the road for -any- West Conference team dreaming of a title goes through the Northwest, for with all four division representatives in the bottom half of the bracket, the eventual West Conference champions will have to face off against at least one Northwest squad.

The Nuggets have experienced a lot of turnover and swapping in and out of old faces, most notably the here now-gone now-back again Victor Gipson and, of course, the headline-grabbing return of Paulinho Buboltz to the Mile High City. It made for a tumultous regular season, especially with the two-month injuries to Jonte Jones and Mateen Yeaton, but when the dust cleared, the Nuggets reclaimed the Northwest and repeated as the #2 seed.

They draw an interesting team in the Jazz, who they've had recent playoff history with. As to who will win... let's see what the tale of the tape says.

Point Guard
Paulinho Buboltz vs. A.J. Dunkley

Buboltz showed signs of becoming more of a passer in his second tour of duty, amassing 12 double-digit assist games in 36, including five of the last six regular season games. Even with that increased passing, his primary strength is still as a scorer as noted by his 20.2 points, 7.5 assists, 1.3 steals regular season line. Not an elite defender and small at 5'11, but he'll still get his steals.

Dunkley is much more of a passer than Buboltz, but nowhere near his scoring level. He averaged 12.8 points, 9.7 assists and 1.2 steals in the regular season and they're both short, quick, stealing guards. Only Buboltz has about 20 pounds of muscle packed on that Dunkley doesn't have.

Advantage: Nuggets

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Chris Gearheart

Getting Yeaton back is absolutely huge for the Nuggets, not only metaphorically, but literally as well. It's impossible to say how much rust he'll have on him, but at the very least, he'll be well-rested. Before he got hurt, he was showing no signs of slippage despite being 33.

Gearheart's 6'7, 222 lbs, so he's a bigger two guard with pretty good defense, the kind of opponent Yeaton hates to go up against. He's also an excellent shooter, averaging 18.9 points, a block and 1.4 steals in the regular season. However, Gearheart's had a long history of struggling in the playoffs and that trend will probably continue here.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Victor Gipson vs. Grant Fomby

The 3 is a spot of major controversy between the coaching staff and the front office. GM Jestor wants Vinston Henry here, Jim O'Brien insists on the mammoth Gipson, who flourished after coming back to the Nuggets following a two month hiatus in Miami, posting 12 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks between the two teams. He shot a career high 58.5% from the floor this season and looks extremely focused going into the postseason.

At one point, some thought Fomby was going to be a late first round steal and blossom into a borderline star, but instead, he's turned out to be just a run of the mill SF, with no special attributes and a pedestrian 9 points and 5.9 regular season rebouns to show for it. He's also going to have trouble against the giant Gipson and he probably won't make any noteworthy contributions this series.

Advantage: Nuggets

Power Forward
Vinston Henry vs. Henry Fisher

The Nuggets believe so strongly that Henry is going to become the next Yeaton that Jestor signed him to a maximum mid-level exemption contract in the regular season and Denver's a team that hews very much to a controlled costs line. He's not quite there yet, but he's developed good shooting and rebounding form over the course of the regular season and his defense, while still supbar, is markedly improved from what it was in October. His 12.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals bely how much he's advanced and we wouldn't be surprised to see a breakout campaign from him next year. That said, he's still somewhat raw, has never been in the playoffs and is a little undersized at 6'9, 231 lbs.

Fisher can't play defense for anything, but when you're a sharpshooter who's putting up 20 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.1 steals, that tends not to matter. A great shotblocker as the statistics note and he plays much bigger than his 6'8, 245 lbs. Has averaged 20+ points the last four seasons, but like Gearheart, is notorious for seizing up in the playoffs.

Advantage: Draw

Center
Jonte Jones vs. Scott Palmer

No rust from Jones after he came back from his broken toe, finishing out the season with 21.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals. He's still deadly accurate from the floor at 31, converting 55.8% of his shots so far this year. He looks refreshed and confident and when you have the defending Finals MVP in that mode, you've got a huge edge.

Palmer was supposed to revolutionize Utah's post game, but while he can play respectable defense, he's a 6'9, 246 lbs finesse center who shoots more jumpers than anything else. While his statline of 15.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and a steal during the regular season are adequate, he's got Tim Davis Softness Syndrome written all over him and to make matters worse, he's yet another Utah postseason underachiever.

Advantage: Nuggets

Bench

Tyrus Thomas was a great trade deadline pickup, able to do everything pretty well still even at 36. Louis Mertens's stats are inflated by his starts, but 10 points and 7.9 assists as the starting SG are still nothing to sneeze at. Carlton Goree is the offensive sparkplug, averaging 9.5 points, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals off the bench and he should earn some 6th Man of the Year votes. Tzvetan Kishishev really came into his own as a scorer this year, averaging 5.5 points whle playing denying defense.

Rodney Brown is extremely versatile, able to play all 5 positions on the court and he turned that into 10.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in the regular season. Cedric Caldwell has a bright future ahead of him, but he's not there yet. He's still the most talented reserve on the roster as it stands and should be the 6th man over Brown, as he can do a little bit of everything right now even. Chad Dobbins will be an excellent scorer someday, but the second year forward is still extremely green. There's no defensive stoppers on the bench and 38 year old Ben Gordon has been angry about his lack of playing time besides.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts

Denver is looking really deep and really talented right now, and the three-time defending champions look to hold all the cards in this matchup against the Jazz. The only problem could be Yeaton's rust. Even given that and the possible effects on the team's performance and chemistry until they get used to each, the Nuggets still sweep this one.
Prediction: Nuggets in 4

Sounds about right, though I wouldn't be surprised to see Utah steal one from us.

Game One
So much for rust. Mateen Yeaton leads all scorers with 23 points and looks terrific. Jonte Jones pulls down 16 points and 18 rebounds and Tyrus Thomas and Tzvetan Kishishev contribute 12 and 10 points off the bench. For the Jazz, Henry Fisher scores 22, Chris Gearheart is right behind with 21 points and Scott Palmer grabs 15 points and 10 rebounds. But nobody else in a purple jersey can do anything and we win this one in dominating fashion.
Final - Utah 84 Denver 107

Game Two
I expected a greater challenge from Utah this game and I got it. Henry Fisher explodes for 31 points, Scott Palmer goes ballistic for 22 points and 12 rebounds and Rodney Brown hustles his way for 18 bench points. We come back with 21 points from Vinston Henry and 21 points, 11 assists from Paulinho Buboltz, but it's not enough as the Jazz pull of a major upset, stunning us by 13 to even the series.
Final - Utah 115 Denver 102

Game Three
In the locker room before the first game in Utah, Jim O'Brien rips into the men, telling them not to take this team lately or we'll suffer an embarassing first round exit and never live the shame down. The team responds beautifully, Mateen Yeaton scoring 24 as the advance guard to three Denver double-doubles: Paulinho Buboltz (19 points, 17 assists), Vinston Henry (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Victor Gipson (12 points, 10 rebounds). Factor in 10 bench points from both Louis Mertens and Tzvetan Kishishev and you have the makings of a 20 point blowout. Utah's frustrated, because they had 3 players with 20+ points: Henry Fisher with 22 points, but also 10 turnovers and Scott Palmer and Chris Gearheart each with 20. It doesn't matter, because in the end, we've got the monster win and the 2-1 series lead.
Final - Denver 113 Utah 93

Game Four
We need to not let up here. Unfortunately, despite seeing improved defense by having Tyrus Thomas move to the starting 4 because of Victor Gipson's strained back, Henry Fisher scorches us for 26 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Gearheart mimics those 26 points, A.J. Dunkley comes out of nowhere for 29 points and Rodney Brown scores 13 in reserve time. Only highlights for us are 27 points and 14 rebounds from Jonte Jones and Louis Mertens dishing out 11 bench assists. As a result, we lose and it's tied up 2-2.
Final - Denver 100 Utah 111

The good news is, there's no sweeps anywhere.

Game Five
The home game's pretty much a must win. Thankfully, our defense shows up at just the right time for the first time since Game 1. In addition, Tyrus Thomas looks 10 years younger in dazzling the home crowd with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Jonte Jones takes the secondary role with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Victor Gipson contributes 10 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. Thus, despite 10 points and 11 rebounds from Henry Fisher and 20 points and 13 rebounds from Scott Palmer, we're able to shut down the rest of the Jazz and seize the 3-2 series momentum.
Final - Utah 84 Denver 100

The Knicks kicked off the 76ers in five and the Bucks upset the Cavaliers. Much to my dismay, Dallas and the Clippers both advance in five over the Spurs and the Kings respectively, meaning we're going to have a brutal matchup for the conference finals no matter who we draw.

Game Six
I can't go through another year of heart attacks. We need to finish out here in Utah. So what happens? Well, Jonte Jones has 18 points and 20 rebounds and Paulinho Buboltz is brilliant with 28 points and 11 assists before fouling out, but when Henry Fisher's getting 17 points and 13 rebounds, A.J. Dunkley's hitting us left and right for 29 points and 13 assists, Chris Gearheart is reaming us for 25 points and Rodney Brown's scoring 12 off the bench, it all ends up in a stinkbomb loss that forces a Game 7. It's digusting and if we lose here, only the #1 pick is going to keep me from quitting.
Final - Denver 96 Utah 108

The Raptors get it done, putting away the Pistons in six games. The other two series, like ours, are going to seven.

Game Seven
I can barely bring myself to even go to the arena for this game. We should -not- be in this position. Henry Fishers lights us up for 29 points and Grant Fomby gathers in 12 points and 11 rebounds. All five Jazz starters score 12 points or more and things are looking hairy, especially after our entire bench combined only scores 12 points. Yet, here's Jonte Jones, fired up for 28 points and 10 rebounds. Vinston Henry and Victor Gipson each double-double, for 15 points and 12 rebounds, 11 points and 10 rebounds respectively. But the hero is the one who's been absent all series long. At long last, Mateen Yeaton snaps out of the slump he's been in since Game 1 and erupts for 35 points. It gets us the win and we move to the second round. Hopefully all the kinks will be worked out by now.
Final - Utah 92 Denver 105

Portland and Orlando escape their own scares to lower seeds, beating out Minnesota and Chicago respectively.

I just hope we play better against the Trailblazers than we did this round. If we don't, our season will be over in a hurry.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:16 PM   #412
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
I'm quite annoyed to read in many of the national papers, both hardcopy and online editions, that the overwhelming majority of sportswriters consider the Clippers/Mavericks matchup to be the real West Conference finals. Yes, we played like crap against Utah, but we're still the three-time defending champs. You'd think they'd give us more credit than that.

Oh well, let's see what the local press has to say.

"Following a shocking full-limit series against the Utah Jazz, doubters aplenty have sprung up about the Nuggets, especially given the dominance of the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers in their first round series. Portland is also an extremely tough draw for Denver, who need to revert to the form they're capable of if they wish a fourpeat.

Point Guard
Paulinho Buboltz vs. Jerian McCrary

Buboltz is having the finest postseason of his career so far, averaging 15.6 points, 11.4 assists and a steal. While he isn't as careful with the ball as Nuggets point guards traditionally are, his point totals and his willingness to shift to a dual threat rather than solely be a shooter more than make up for it. On the other hand, he got lit up at times by A.J. Dunkley in the first round.

McCrary may be a better two than a one and only an average passer and defender, but he had an astounding first round, exploding for 21 points and 8.3 assists in a performance that he's never had in the postseason and echoed his 2017 regular season when he averaged 20.5 points in 14 starts after returning from a torn MCL injury. He's also got a big size advantage over Buboltz at 6'6, 224 lbs, making it difficult to say whether or not he'll be to duplicate his opening showing.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Sonny Boxler

Don't be fooled by his 20 points, 4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks average from the Utah series. Perhaps the biggest reason why the Jazz took the Nuggets to seven games was because Yeaton had his second worst non-injured playoff series ever, shooting just 44.1% from the floor. The last time he was that bad? All the way in 2011 with the Pacers. If Denver wants to advance, they'll need Yeaton to snap back to form.

Boxler may be just the remedy Yeaton needs. Unlike big, defensively talented Chris Gearheart, Boxler's short and still lax at surrendering points. His ability to make highlight plays on defense wll be mitigated by Yeaton's excellent ball security. Still, Boxler's 20.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, astounding 3.6 blocks and 2.6 steals against Minnesota is a line so impressive that he can't be regarded lightly.

Advantage: Draw

Small Forward
Victor Gipson vs. Charlie Joseph

Gipson was limited to 4 starts in the first round by back problems, but still averaged 8.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. He used his size to shut down Grant Fomby when he was in against Utah and given his success last year in limiting Kevin Durant, he should enjoy the same defensive prowess here.

Especially since Durant's out with a broken finger. This means the young Joseph in his stead, who averaged 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks versus the Timberwolves. But Joseph is no great source of offense, nor a frightening defender. While he is a very good rebounder, Gipson surpasses him in that category and 6'9, 264 lbs does not match up well against 7'2, 303 lbs.

Advantage: Nuggets

Power Forward
Vinston Henry vs. Marcus Honeycutt

Henry got lit up by Henry Fisher in his first ever playoff outing. More troublingly, he shot just 43% against an anemic defender, taking some of the shine off his 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds, the latter of which displayed his growing excellence at pulling down the boards.

It's even more worrying considering Honeycutt has a well-deserved reputation as a lockdown defender, even given Jonte Jones's brutalizing of him last postseason. On the other hand, Marcus has never shot higher than 37.9% in the playoffs and while he should see improvement over his 32.5% from the first round and hence, an increase in his 8.4 points and 1.1 steals, he won't suddenly turn into a Durant.

Advantage: Draw

Center
Jonte Jones vs. Terrence Howard

Jones didn't take as many shots as he normally does against Utah, which accounts for his 18.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks. We anticipate him taking a much more active role in scoring this round, especially with Honeycutt shadowing Henry.

Howard doesn't have the scoring instincts to be a Jones, but he's an excellent rebounder and shotblocker with passable defense. He's also strictly an inside scorer, having attempted just 2 three point shots in his entire 10 year career, both misses. Howard's also an atrocious free throw shooter, with a career conversion of 48.1%. That said, he's a true center, unlike previous glorified fours posing as fives the Trailblazers have had over the years (Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Honeycutt).

Advantage: Nuggets

Bench

The stats are somewhat inflated by 3 starts, but Tyrus Thomas was still a major force in the first round, averaging 12.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Curiously enough, the team seemed to play worse defense when he started, a point in favor of Jim O'Brien's belief he should be on the bench. Louis Mertens showed very good scoring and passing form with 6.9 points, 5.4 assists and a steal, while Tzvetan Kishishev averaged 4.7 points in just 8.6 minutes.

Charles Howard was brilliant in shooting the Timberwolves, silver bulleting his way to 13.4 points a game. But he's also been unhappy about not getting a starting job, especially after Durant went down three games into the series. Brent Short is a very good perimeter defender and passer, averaging 4.6 points and 5.4 assists, but Portland's bench depth is abysmal, especially at C and they may be force to try and play Durant with a broken finger in an emergency situation.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts

Missing Kevin Durant is going to cost Portland this series. With him, this series is a tossup, possibly even favoring the Trailblazers slightly. Without him, even with Denver's dysfunctional first round showing, the Nuggets should advance fairly easy. We're not quite willing to believe it'll be so simple, though and in fact project another seven game series that sees Denver win due to home court advantage.
Prediction: Nuggets in 7

Rough, but fair summary. Every round this playoffs is likely to prove a war. Our best chance at an easy go was in the first round and we blew that one.

Game One
Jonte Jones grabs all the headlines with 31 points and 13 rebounds, but it's Victor Gipson who shocks me with his beautiful 22 point, 16 rebound, 6 assist performance. Paulinho Buboltz contributes 21 points and Tyrus Thomas is a bench beast with 17 points. Portland looks completely lost without Kevin Durant and an angry Charles Howard continues to agitate with 22 points off the bench for the lone Traiblazer highlight in our 20 point rout to open the series.
Final - Portland 99 Denver 119

Game Two
I'm not taking this one with any sort of ease. Remember, we spanked the Jazz in Game 1 last series, too. What follows is offense and lots of it. Sonny Boxler thunders for 26 points, Jerian McCrary looks like a real, live point guard with 10 points and 14 assists and Charles Howard and Billy Humphrey each net 13 bench points. We counter with another nice game of 15 points and 12 rebounds from Victor Gipson, 24 points from Jonte Jones, 21 points from Mateen Yeaton, Paulinho Buboltz's 14 points and 15 assists and another sensational bench showing of 16 points from Tyrus Thomas. It adds up to another dominating win and a crisp, clean, refreshing 2-0 series lead. Oh, all five starters scored 12 or more.
Final - Portland 103 Denver 129

Game Three
It's going to be interesting to see how we handle the move to Portland. Short answer: Not well at all. Sonny Boxler abuses us for 32 points, Marcus Honeycutt scores 20, Jerian McCray unleashes for 23 points and 13 assists and Charles Howard continues to have the kind of series that makes me put him on the shortlist for free agent signings next summer with 14 bench points. We muster 16 points and 23 rebounds from Jonte Jones and 18 points and 15 assists from Paulinho Buboltz, but when Portland's scoring 59.3%, we just can't win and instead get our asses kicked from one end of the court to the other. 2-1.
Final - Denver 99 Portland 120

Game Four
Can we snap back to prevent an even series? The bells are tolling ominously as Sonny Boxler scores 31, Terrence Howard finally breaks through for 17 points and 12 rebounds, Jerian McCrary doubles for 18 points and 11 assists and Charles Howard stays ridiculous with 13 bench points. We try to match with Victor Gipson's 20 points and 13 rebounds, Jonte Jones's 16 points and 15 rebounds and Louis Mertens's 13 bench points, but our backcourt has given up the ghost and Mateen Yeaton is shooting 37.9% for the playoffs. We lose by a deja vuing 11 and just like that, it's all knotted up.
Final - Denver 100 Portland 111

Everyone's playing at least one more game.

Game Five
If we can't manage a home win here, our season's pretty much done. Happily, we put the clamps on Portland's offense, allowing only 29 points from Sonny Boxler and 10 points from reserve Jerian Taylor. In contrast, Jonte Jones rules the court with 24 points, 18 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocks and a steal, Victor Gipson garners 18 points and 17 rebounds and Louis Mertens powers the second team with 15 points. But the biggest and happiest moment of all is Mateen Yeaton breaking the cold streak for an 11/19 night and 28 points. It's a statement win, a bonecrusher that has it 3-2 us and hopefully signals the return of our star SG.
Final - Portland 93 Denver 115

Much to my surprise, everyone's going to at least six games. Some really intense, heated playoff basketball this year, that's for sure.

Game Six
I would dearly love to close out here in Portland, especially if a certain someone can show being 33 and having a two month layoff hasn't put any more rust on him. I'm sick to my stomach after watching Jonte Jones's 27 points and 14 rebounds and Vinston Henry's 17 points and 11 rebounds go to nothing. It isn't Sonny Boxler's 20 points or Jerian McCrary's 17 points and 17 assists that dooms us. It's that our reserves play like complete shit and the Traiblazers' bench has their way with us, Charles Howard and Jerian Taylor scoring 14 and 12 points a piece. We got the snot kicked out of us and we have to back to Denver.
Final - Denver 92 Portland 114

The East sees the Knicks and Raptors ousting the Bucks and Magic respectively, setting up a 1 vs. 2 conference final. The West is seeing both series go to 7 games.

Game Seven
I'm on the point of hyperventilating and I nearly pass out as I sink into my box suite chair shortly before tipoff. There's an impending sense of doom ringing all throughout me. Terrence Howard rises for 22 points and 12 rebounds, Jerian McCrary is peerless with 17 points and 19 assists and Charles Howard erupts for a furious 24 points and he's pretty much earned his way to a big money contract from somebody in the summer. Jonte Jones has an awful night, scoring just 4 points. We're down 63-49 at the half and the doom sense is growing even more discordant and shrill. But then we rally in the second half, coming out of the locker room with determination and an icy fury at everyone who doubts us. The end result? A 61-34 reversal in the second half and we win!!!. Victor Gipson shows once again why Jim O'Brien's trust in him is valid with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Paulinho Buboltz betters McCrary with 22 points and 19 assists and Louis Mertens and Tzvetan Kishishev each score 10 points off the bench. But you already know who the shining star, the MVP of this game was. Yes, it was none other than Mateen Yeaton, pouring all his heart and energy into 33 points and 11 rebounds to will us to victory. In the end, we advance and that's all that matters right now.
Final - Portland 97 Denver 110

Our conference finals opponent is....

the Dallas Mavericks.

The NBA brass is ecstatic, the TV execs are thrilled and I'm happy too.

The storylines are already being written.

For what greater story is there than Marcelino Augusto, a probable Hall of Famer when all is said and done, going up against the team he wanted out from and the GM who traded him?

Jonte Jones having to play against the team that drafted him, the one he initially didn't want to leave?

The return of both Augusto and Zelipe Gama, the Spanish PG I still miss sometimes, to Denver?

A struggling Mateen Yeaton, paired with the player forever linked with him, Paulinho Buboltz, in our backcourt?

All of this and more, for on the line is not only our quest for a fourpeat, but our efforts to reach our seventh straight NBA Finals.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:29 PM   #413
Coffee Warlord
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Fire Jestor!

I do love the fact that Mateen and Paulinho are now together.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:32 PM   #414
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
Fire Jestor!

I do love the fact that Mateen and Paulinho are now together.



So do I, though who knows how long they'll be together.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:59 PM   #415
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Bitter Rivals On Tap For West Conference Finals

There's only been one day since the Game 7s that determined this West Conference finals matchup, but already the words are flying, at least from the Mavericks.

"This series about me and Mateen Yeaton", Mavericks superstar Marcelino Augusto said in an ESPN interview, "Everyone else can just forget about it, because it's me and him. (Denver Nuggets GM) Jestor traded me because he favored Yeaton over me and now it's payback time. Mateen, he's old and he's got nothing left in him. He's not even shooting 40%. They can't win without that. My revenge is now."

Charles Arnold, Dallas's starting SG acquired from Miami earlier this season, also joined in the commentary.

"Jestor's going to regret trading me to Miami. It paved the way for me to come to Dallas and I'm thankful for the Heat giving me the opportunity to come here and get the chance to beat Denver. Mateen Yeaton is going to keep right on shooting like crap against me and the Nuggets can kiss the fourpeat goodbye right here, right now."

No response was forthcoming from Denver. In fact, the only reply we could from anyone within the Nuggets organization was owner Bob Neal.

"GM Jestor has instituted a gag order for all Denver Nuggets employees and staff. Anyone speaking to the press, save me, will be fired immediately. Also, head coach Jim O'Brien has closed practices to everyone, including myself and Mr. Jestor. Only the Nuggets players and coaching staff are allowed at practice and they are under the same silence order as the rest of the organization", Neal said in a phone interview.

The wall of silence is perhaps not so surprising, given that Denver has played their worst postseason basketball in years, requiring Game 7s to beat both the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trailblazers, Northwest Division foes who don't have anywhere near the talent of the Mavericks.

Can the Nuggets win and advance to the Finals? That's the hundred million dollar question.

Point Guard
Paulinho Buboltz vs. Zelipe Gama

Buboltz's 51% shooting for 15.4 points and 10.4 assists have been a real blessing for the Nuggets this postseason, given Yeaton's offensive woes. On the other hand, he's been surprisingly quietly on the defensive end, not generating many turnovers via steals.

Gama, another former Nugget on a team full of them, refused comment for this story. He's averaging 8.6 points, 9.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.7 blocks in the playoffs. It's been one of his bad-shooting postseasons, converting just 40.6% of his shots, but Dallas is so deep, they just need him to pass the ball and play disruptive defense, which he can do. He also has a 5 inch height advantage on Buboltz, which helps matters considerably.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Charles Arnold

The biggest question this postseason for the Nuggets: What in the world's happened to Yeaton? The once-accurate, surefire consistent SG is shooting just 39.8% for 19.1 points, a steal and 1.8 blocks. Some speculate it's rust from the two month layoff with a broken leg, others say it's a lack of cohesion and chemistry with the new look Nuggets. In any case, he needs to snap out of the cold streak if Denver has any hope of seeing the Finals.

But Arnold's precisely the big (6'7, 188 lbs), good defending guard that Yeaton's historically had trouble with and he's an excellent shooter on top of it, averaging 19.9 points to date in the playoffs. He's also got the motivation for revenge against Denver for trading him quite quickly after he signed a multiyear mid-level exemption with them. In fact, he was a Nugget for just 4 days and never saw the court in a Denver uniform. That intangible is a dangerous edge in an already worrisome matchup for Nuggets fans.

Advantage: Draw

Small Forward
Victor Gipson vs. Devone Allen

Gipson's been one of the most stunning revelations in the playoffs for Denver, averaging a career high 13 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. The behemoth has emerged as one of the most consistent safety valves for a team that's sorely in need of one right now, given their crisis of confidence and form.

There's no question about it; Allen has developed into an All-NBA calibre player, with stupendous shooting and scoring instincts and very good defensive play, especially in ball thievery. He's averaging 19.6 points, 6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks thus far. Gipson has a tall order trying to guard him, but his size is going to help against the 6'8, 218 Allen.

Advantage: Mavericks

Power Forward
Vinston Henry vs. Marcelino Augusto

The 22 year old Henry's averaging 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in the playoffs and has managed to do fairly well, even against defensive stalwarts like Marcus Honeycutt, but his highly suspect defense is going to be a major disadvantage here.

Because Augusto is on a mission and he's been MVP-like in his 21.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.7 blocks. His scoring is peerless, his defense is markedly improved and of course, he can gobble up rebounds and block shots against men much larger than him, so the extra 14 pounds Henry has on him mean absolutely nothing. Expect to see Augusto average at least 25-30 points a game this series.

Advantage: Mavericks

Center
Jonte Jones vs. David Carter

Jones still isn't taking the number of shots he needs to do, but 19.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks is certainly nothing to sneeze at, particularly since he's been the most consistent star player for the Nuggets this playoffs. He'll need to do more of the same here and elevate his scoring to greater heights to counter the Mavericks' first-rate firepower.

Carter's a nice enough guy, but he only has some average defense and rebounding talent. 5.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks look paltry compared to Jones's numbers and that 32.5% postseason shooting doesn't impress anyone either. His mission this series is solely to make sure Jones doesn't experience a new offensive boom.

Advantage: Nuggets

Bench

Tyrus Thomas is averaging 10.6 points and 1.6 blocks and his defensive prowess will be key to containing Dallas. Louis Mertens is a playmaker on offense, averaging 7.2 points and 6.5 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev has developed into a role scorer, averaging 5.1 points with his great score-prevention defense.

Damian Giesen isn't flashy, but he's a former starter and a solid all-around reserve averaging 6.1 points. Al Horford's in much the same vein, providing the frontcourt muscle with 5.7 points and 6.3 rebounds. But beyond those two, there isn't much. Ryan Glosier in particular is a sieve on defense.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts

Despite an edge at C and the bench, Denver's facing a firing squad of immense power in Arnold/Allen/Augusto. The AAA Team is going to be unstoppable unless some kind of miracle happened in those closed practices. We don't see it. In fact, our crystal ball says a Dallas sweep and the end of Denver's dynasty.
Prediction: Mavericks in 4

...Thanks for the support. I knew there was a reason why I implemented a gag order. Still, not that I can blame them or the rest of the media for not giving us a chance.

Game One
A hostile, energized crowd is never a good thing on the road, especially not when two of the other team's biggest stars have good reason to hate you. Devone Allen is astounding with 24 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks, Marcelino Augusto scores 26 and David Tucker and Al Horford rape us off the bench for 18 and 10 points respectively. Mateen Yeaton's back on form with 23 points, but the only support is a sickly 10 points and 10 assists from Paulinho Buboltz and Jonte Jones's 16 points and 11 rebounds. We come out flat and we get our asses kicked. A sweep may be right.
Final - Denver 87 Dallas 108

Game Two
The Mavericks brimmed with confidence heading into this one and Marcelino Augusto leads all scorers with another 26 points. Devone Allen chimes in with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Al Horford scores 11 off the bench. But perhaps Dallas was overconfident, as all five of our starters score 15 points or more. Leading the charge is Jonte Jones with 17 points and 24 rebounds. Vinston Henry surprises with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 20, Paulinho Buboltz dishes out 15 points and 17 assists and Louis Mertens scores 10 off the bench. End result? A 15 point shocker upset and an evening of blood and series. So much for the sweep at least.
Final - Denver 105 Dallas 90

Game Three
We may be in Denver, but the Mavericks are going to come out hopping mad, pissed that their sweep is gone. Indeed, Marcelino Augusto is so furious, he has his most masterful game of the series yet with 37 points and 11 rebounds. But like Mateen Yeaton in Game 1, Augusto's only ally is Zelipe Gama's 11 points and 11 assists. Charles Arnold in particular had an ugly game, shooting 1 for 16. On our end, Jonte Jones thunders for 31 points, Victor Gipson makes his presence felt with 17 points and 14 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz has 13 points and 10 assists before fouling out and Louis Mertens paces the reserves again with 11 points on a perfect 5/5 night. We get another double-digit win and suddenly we've taken a beautiful 2-1 series lead.
Final - Dallas 85 Denver 102

Game Four
Understatement of the year: A win here would be absolutely huge. But can we get it? Marcelino Augusto is impassioned against us and he has yet another 20+ point game with 23 points and Zelipe Gama scores 12 points and 12 assists on us. But Jonte Jones easily matches Augusto and then some with 29 points and 13 rebounds, Victor Gipson has his second straight double-double with 17 points and 11 assists, Mateen Yeaton scores 26 and Tyrus Thomas comes off the bench for 15 points. It's our most complete game of the series and we wallop the Mavericks to take a commanding 3-1 edge and hold them over the brink.
Final - Dallas 94 Denver 115

The Knicks and Raptors are going to at least five games as well.

Game Five
Our Game 4 victory came at a terrible cost. Jonte Jones bruised his thigh and will be of limited effectiveness for the rest of the playoffs. Given how important he's been to us this postseason, that's not good news. As such, I'm a little wary when we march back into Dallas to face the rabid Mavericks partisans. In fact, we're so badly affected by his injury, our lone highlight is a pathetic 12 bench points from Tyrus Thomas. Dallas only has one highlight as well, but when it's Marcelino Augusto running wild for 33 points and 11 rebounds, that's all you need to know about the game. An expected buttkicking.
Final - Denver 86 Dallas 109

Toronto and New York match us and go to a sixth game.

Game Six
Simply put, we have to win here. Anything else and all we've done to this point will have gone to waste. I can't see us beating Dallas in a Game 7. And so, it's another gut-wrenching game that I can barely stand to watch. But we're nothing, we're fucking nothing without a healthy Jonte Jones. Who cares about Mateen Yeaton's 21 points? To hell with Victor Gipson's 17 points and 13 rebounds and forget Tzvetan Kishishev and Chezley McCleary's 11 and 10 bench points. When Marcelino Augusto is bending us over for 34 points, Devone Allen's scoring 25 and all five Mavericks score 12 points or more, it doesn't matter a god damned thing. 20 point loss and we just fucking pissed it all away.
Final - Dallas 113 Denver 93

The East is going to a Game 7, too. Not that it matters much. Our fate is already sealed.

Game Seven
It's ony my intense loyalty to the team that makes me even go to Dallas for the final game. It's a mixture of tears and surreal numbness that has me watching. A brutal, brawling final game follows. Devone Allen nets a near triple-double of 23 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. Marcelino Augusto scores 24, Charles Arnold scores 21 and Al Horford scores 10 off the bench. In answer, Paulinho Buboltz gets 23 points and 10 assists, Mateen Yeaton scores 21, Vinston Henry and Jonte Jones double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 11 points, 14 rebounds respectively and Tzvetan Kisishev scores 15 off the bench. The game goes to OT as we completely fucking blow a fourth quarter lead and we just run out of steam, going down in an inglorious defeat that we had in our hands. Marcelino Augusto and Charles Arnold celebrate on court, pointing their fingers at our coaching staff and players and laughing. Other Mavericks, drained though they are, point to the scoreboard while the partisan crowd gleefully celebrates.
Final - Denver 113 Dallas 121 (OT)

I stare at a sign in the stands that reads "Destroy Denver's Dominance".

They did. Marcelino Augusto has his revenge and I'm heartbroken.

I'm seriously tempt to resign, just walk away from this sick feeling that comes not only from the end of our Rings Quest, but that we lost it at the hands of that smug prick Augusto and the Dallas Mavericks.

If it was the Raptors, who advance to the Finals, it wouldn't hurt nearly this bad.
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Old 12-14-2008, 01:54 AM   #416
Izulde
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"Hello, Mr. Jestor. Sam Mitchell here."

It's a little surreal, the Toronto Raptors GM calling me out of the blue like this on the day after we've been defeated by the Mavericks.

"Hey, Sam. Congratulations on returning to the Finals. Hell of a job your boys did coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the Knicks."

"Thanks. I just wanted to call you and tell you that you guys deserve a lot of credit, too. I know the loss was extremely disappointing, but nobody gave the Nuggets a chance and you pushed them all the way, even when Jones got hurt. That says a lot for the job you've done in putting the team together and its toughness. You've got nothing to be ashamed of. Heck, between our two teams, we owned the 2010s and we're still going strong into this decade."

"True, but it still stings."

"Sure it does. But you guys made it to six straight Finals, something that nobody's done since the Celtics dynasty way back when and got three straight titles out of it. And let me tell you, so what if Augusto's the one that beat you guys? Put his flameout last year on that team and subtract Jones's MVP performance last season and you don't have those three titles in a row. I know you're probably feeling pretty depressed now and I heard a rumor from a little bird that you're thinking of quitting, but I think you owe it to Yeaton to stick around until he retires at least. If you want to go somewhere else then, fine. But you've got a ton of first rounders coming up, including a guaranteed top five pick this next draft. By that time, you may love the new version of the Nuggets and want to stick around for them."

Strange as it sounds, Sam's words are a real comfort. The Raptors/Nuggets rivalry over the last half-decade has been an intense one, but it's one built on mutual respect and admiration. We both are really impressed with what the other's done and the dynasties we've been able to simultaneously build.

"Thanks, Sam. That means a lot. Now go and kick Augusto's ass for me, will you?"

Sam laughs, "You bet that's exactly what we're planning to do. And hopefully next season, we'll play each other again in the Finals."

So I'm in a better frame of mind for the Finals, but I still don't read the previews or watch the games. It still hurts too much to. Like when you're with the girl of your dreams, the one who's so perfect for you, you don't even look at other girls the same way anymore and then she dumps you for a slimy, super rich douchebag. It's too painful for you to even see her picture, hear her voice, or listen to other people talk about her, let alone see her in person.

It's a good thing I don't, because Dallas sweeps Toronto, a result nobody expected. Marcelino Augusto wins the MVP award and, from what I heard later, made a speech talking about much he loved the Mavericks fans and the city of Dallas, how they appreciated him and what he did in way that nobody else ever did.

It was a slap in the face to all the Nuggets fans who loved and lauded him so ardently. Him saying that about me is fine and probably accurate. But our fans deserve better than that. He may be a future Hall of Famer, but the more he's been in this league, this less I like him and the happier I am that I traded him.

NBA Lottery
14. Atlanta Hawks
13. New Jersey Nets
12. Charlotte Bobcats
11. Washington Wizards
10. Golden State Warriors
9. Houston Rockets
8. Los Angeles Lakers (-2)

Bad news. That means two teams skyrocketed into the top three.

7. Phoenix Suns (-2)
6. New Orleans Hornets (-2)
5. Memphis Grizzlies (-2)

Now the sweating out starts.

4. Indiana Pacers (-2)

Well, we avoid the worst possible outcome at least.

3. Seattle Supersonics (+4)

Great, the divisional foe leaps up to #3. But we're guaranteed to be ahead of them, which is far better than what it could've been.

2. Denver Nuggets (-1)

A little disappointing, but I'm okay with it, actually, which means...

1. Boston Celtics (+7)

Stunning upset by the Celtics, who can add a franchise youth player to all that old talent they have floating around Beantown. Talk about Lady Luck smiling down on them.

NBA Awards
MVP
Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors - 15.1 PPG 15.0 RPG 3.2 APG 2.6 BPG 1.0 SPG
Defensive Player of the Year
Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors - 15.1 PPG 15.0 RPG 3.2 APG 2.6 BPG 1.0 SPG
Rookie of the Year
Jamarcus Wilson - Philadelphia 76ers - 12.9 PPG 5.1 RPG 1.8 APG 0.9 BPG 0.7 SPG
6th Man of the Year
Al Jefferson - Charlotte Bobcats - 11.7 PPG 5.9 RPG 1.6 APG 1.4 BPG 0.6 SPG
Coach of the Year
Avery Johnson - Dallas Mavericks

Another BS MVP award for Oden, who frankly keeps getting fellated by the national media when he doesn't deserve it. I can't even remember the last time the MVP Award went to someone other than a C. But whatever.

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Corey Neal - New Jersey Nets
SG Justin Richler - Toronto Raptors
SF Devone Allen - Dallas Mavericks
PF Marcelino Augusto - Dallas Mavericks
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

Yeah, see, Augusto honestly deserved the MVP award over Oden. It's a bunch of horse manure.

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Kenny Graham - Sacramento Kings
SG Filip Mikulic - Houston Rockets
SF Kevin Durant - Portland Trailblazers
PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Narcyz Malinomowski - Memphis Grizzlies

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG John Aylsworth - Cleveland Cavaliers
SG Jerian McCrary - Portland Trailblazers
SF David Anyan - Toronto Raptors
PF Henry Fisher - Utah Jazz
C Andrew Bynum - New York Knicks

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Leland Peterson - Washington Wizards
SG Walter Hicks - New Jersey Nets
SF David Anyan - Toronto Raptors
PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Corey Neal - New Jersey Nets
SG Jermaine Butler - Boston Celtics
SF Devone Allen - Dallas Mavericks
PF Dwight Howard - Orlando Magic
C Dontay Williamson - Los Angeles Clippers

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG David Cormier - New Orleans Hornets
SG Rasheed Wheeler - Los Angeles Clippers
SF Wayne Scott - Atlanta Hawks
PF Jamarcus Wilson - Philadelphia 76ers
C Jarrod Hill - Seattle Supersonics

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Jason Griffin - Houston Rockets
SG Bernard Legans - Washington Wizards
SF Rick Smith - Indiana Pacers
PF Ronnie Fry - Memphis Grizzlies
C Mark Wilson - New Orleans Hornets

Hall of Fame Update
Dirk Nowitzki - 2017 - Dallas Mavericks #41
Kobe Bryant - 2017 - Los Angeles Lakers #24
Michael Redd - 2018 - Milwaukee Bucks #22
Elton Brand - 2018 - Los Angeles Clippers #42
Yao Ming - 2019 - Houston Rockets #11
Dwayne Wade - 2021 - Miami Heat #3
Ben Gordon - 2021 - Indiana Pacers #8
Gilbert Arenas - 2021 - Washington Wizards #1*

* - The NBA passed a rule that says 0 is reserved for summer league non-roster players, so Arenas took 1 as his retired number.

The meeting with Bob Neal about next season does not go well. I ask him to stick with our usual $15 million max deal, but he's demanding that we keep it under $10 million over the cap. How the hell he expects me to do that when we're already $31.8 million over with just 7 players signed, I don't know.

It appears I may have to break up the team some more, which is actually made somewhat easier now that the Rings Quest is over.

Mock Draft
Bad time to miss out on the #1 pick as the clear-cut top choice is 20 year PF John Walker from UCLA, the only player in this draft said to have 5* potential and the only one who's already obtained an elite level of development.

After him come a group of players all bunched together. We're projected to take Deon Sterley, a 20 year old PF out of Cincinnati, who impresses me initially, as his 6'9, 250 lbs frame reminds me a lot of Emeka Okafor's build, only Sterly appears to have the scoring hops to be an offensive force.

With the 20th pick, we're tabbed to select another PF, Mike Wise, a 19 year old one and done from LSU, who unwisely entered the draft too soon and who doesn't impress me.

The 25th pick sees us taking yet -another- PF in the mocks, 20 year old Czech Lubomir Novotny. He doesn't excite me either.

I do anticipate us leaving the draft with 3 players, though, as I think there's enough depth that we can find someone even at the 25th spot worth selecting.

Of course, one never knows how the workouts will turn out or just how the draft will shape up.

That's the beauty of draft night.
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:41 AM   #417
Izulde
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It appears we also have the 29th pick, which surprises me and I don't remember where it came from. #2 came from the Heat, #25 came from the Clippers, #20 came from the Bulls... ah. #29 is our own pick, which I thought I'd traded away, but apparently we still have it. I don't remember who the mocks thought would go for that one, but it was probably another PF because the mock drafters are complete idiots.

In any case, we've had a sudden and abrupt shift in opinion as to the direction we're going and it remains to be seen just who we'll take at #2.

2022 NBA Draft 1st Round
1. PF John Walker - Boston Celtics

The experts, much to my amusement, are saying that we're looking to trade the pick. While it's true Deon Sterley had an underwhelming workout for us, even with fantastic intangibles, I'm not quite ready to give it up just yet.

They also bring up the possibility of Charles Diggs, a senior PG out of Illinois who's a score first type. Yeah, okay. Just because I brought Paulinho Buboltz in doesn't mean I'm going to stray from my philosophy of pass-first points.

I give a lot of thought to the idea of trading down, but in the end, there's a player I like too much to pass on.

2. C Kevin Bradford - Wake Forest

He's a senior who has great scoring and good rebounding ability. Not great on the defensive end and a little undersized at 6'10, 253 lbs, but something tells me he's another Jonte Jones.

The analysts hate the pick, but we'll see.

3. SF Prokopios Vadeki - Seattle Supersonics
4. PF Deon Sterley - Indiana Pacers
5. SF Jermaine Trask - Memphis Grizzlies
6. SG Teddy Harriman - New Orleans Hornets
7. SF Brad Randle - Phoenix Suns
8. PF Marko Vlasto - Los Angeles Lakers
9. PF Pat Baxley - Houston Rockets
10. SG Jay Brown - Golden State Warriors
11. PG Charles Diggs - Washington Wizards
12. PG Tom Singletary - Charlotte Bobcats

At this stage in the draft, Singletary is a great pick and one of the few the experts have agreed was a smart move so far. To be honest, we gave him a long look at #2 before choosing to pass on him for his horrible defense.

13. PG Chris Kimmel - New Jersey Nets
14. PF Billy Cullen - Atlanta Hawks

Now at this point, all the top players are gone and the two guys I like could be taken at any time. There's one player in particular I covet, so I contact the Spurs about moving up. They're being anal about it, though, so I have to watch and wait.

15. PG Dave Linton - San Antonio Spurs

The Jazz are much more agreeable to a deal and we strike one quickly.

Denver Nuggets receive
#16 pick

Utah Jazz receive
#25 pick
Boston Celtics 2024 2nd round pick
Denver Nuggets 2024 2nd round pick
Golden State Warriors 2024 2nd round pick

The analysts think it's just a move made to spin off into another trade, but they're wrong. I never move up unless it's to grab a specific player.

16. SG Joem Layne - Denver Nuggets

Big SG who has some talent at scoring and some great defensive ability according to our workout notes. Also a great chemistry guy who totally busts his ass to improve. Reminds me very much of a poor man's Mateen Yeaton in some ways.

17. SF Ray Carr - Philadelphia 76ers

And there goes the other player I was considering. Good thing I moved up to take Layne, even if J.P. flipped out over the pick.

18. SF Mark Fleming - Detroit Pistons
19. PF Joseph Barnes - Minnesota Timberwolves

Hah! The talking heads are convinced we're going to trade off the #20 pick. They sure seem hellbent that we're going to move down or out somewhere in this draft.

But picks for picks deals are notoriously difficult to pull off in the NBA. This isn't the NFL, after all. And while I'm not adverse to dealing Paulinho Buboltz before his salary turns into a giant albatross, finding the right value for him is difficult.

We have some fascinating discussions with the Raptors that almost lead to a blockbuster trade, but Sam and I agree to forget it at the last minute, in order to avoid being lynched by our respective fanbases.

And when I get right down to it, I have to admit to myself I like the pairing of Buboltz and Mateen Yeaton in our backcourt. I want to see them win a title together and we can always use whoever we pick as trade bait later on down the line.

With that in mind, I decide it's time to start taking flyers.

20. PF Jonathan Hill - Denver Nuggets

I feel like the coaching staff is underrating him and that he's a great value pick at this point in the first round. The analysts agree, calling it a very nice selection on our parts.

21. SF Mike Poole - Sacramento Kings
22. PF Lubomir Novotny - Milwaukee Bucks
23. PG Andre Harper - Cleveland Cavaliers
24. PG A.J. Lopez - Orlando Magic
25. SF Ladrick Battle - Utah Jazz
26. PF Mike Wise - Toronto Raptors
27. C Connor Augustus - New York Knicks
28. SG Aaron Smylie - Portland Trailblazers

For the 29th pick, they're suggesting we take Calvis Hayes. It's a thought, but there's actually one player I like a little bit better.

29. SG Darren Hare - Denever Nuggets

Tough, muscular senior from Louisville, but the analysts hate the pick.

30. SG Eric Bass - Miami Heat

First look after the draft says Kevin Bradford won't live up to the expectations of being a #2 pick and will bust. Jonathan Hill looks like a potential defensive specialist with not much else. Darren Hare doesn't look exciting either and Joem Layne appears to be a disappointing over-reach.

I renounce everyone but Victor Gipson and grimly note that even if we bring him back at a reduced rate, we'll still be over the $15 million mark, let alone anything above that.

Summer League
PG Carlton Goree
SG Darren Davis
SG Joem Layne
SG Darren Hare
PF Tzvetan Kishishev
PF Jonathon Hill
C Kevin Bradford

Summer League
A thrilling opening game sees us come from behind to beat Dallas 102-99. Lee McRae bursts for 24 points, Carlton Goree garners 11 points and 11 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev and Darren Hare score 12 and 11 points respectively off the bench.

No undefeated summer this time, as despite a furious rally, we fall 107-103 to Golden State. Carlton Goree scores 20, Darren Hare leads the reserves with 17 points and Chris Overton and Hsien-feng Mei each hit 10 points off the bench.

97-93 loss to the Hawks despite Carlton Goree's 18 points and 10 assists. Oh well, at least nobody's impressing me this year and tempting me to sign them in free agency.

A 100-84 win over the Bulls is keyed by balanced offense and 10 bench points from Chris Overton and Stan Yotov and we destroy the Celtics 116-82 to finish with a winning record. Chris Overton explodes for 22 points off the bench, Tzvetan Kishishev and Hsien-feng Mei scoring 15 and 12 points a piece.

Free Agency

Sexy young crop this year. Galen Drayton, Tim Butler, Sonny Boxler, Henry Fisher, Bryan Young, Valery Frahm, Charles Howard, Oswaldo Apolonario, Dontay Williamson just to name the biggest ones.

Oswaldo Apolonario leaves the Bulls for the Hawks on a 5 year, $55 million and change contract, an offer much bigger than we could afford to give him (mid-level max contract).

The New Orleans Hornets jump in on Victor Gipson, stealing him away on a one year mid-level exemption that absolutely shocks me. The sickening thing is, even with him gone, we're still over the $15 million personal cap.

I sign Winston Smith and bring back Lindsey Williamson, both on min-sal deals and use another min-sal deal to re-sign Jameel Williams on the same day Louis Mertens gets a 3 year, $14.8 millon contract from the Bobcats and Tyrus Thomas goes to Charlotte too, for a year and $4.7 million.

Training Camp

Mateen Yeaton definitely looked a step slower and weaker on camp, especially on defense. A worrying sign.

Rookies
Joem Layne
-Showed ability to defend, but little else. Still appears like he could be an adequate bench players.
Darren Hare
-Flawless FT shooter, but ordinary outside of that.
Jonathan Hill
-Looking quite the bust.
Kevin Bradford
-Showed a -very- minimal ceiling. Will still get the nod at PF though, simply because the coaching staff seems to hate Tzvetan Kishishev.

Reports out of the Pacers camp say Deon Sterley has some good potential, but isn't likely to recognize it mired on Indiana's bench. They're willing to do an even-up trade, but Sterley looks like a SF in a PF's body. No thanks.

The one good news from our camp is that Vinston Henry is moving ever closer to becoming an elite player and he should reach it sometime this season, especially since he'll be at his natural position of the 3 spot.

The preseason mags have the Clippers picked for first in the conference, followed by the Mavericks and then us. It's one of the very few times I can think of where I don't disagree with the assessment at all.

They're saying the East is Bulls, Knicks, Nets, Wizards. Yeah, not seeing that one at all other than the Knicks. Toronto may not have Chris Bosh or Andrea Bargnani this year, but Brandon Brooks gives the Raptors a legit PG and allows them to move Justin Richler to his preferred 2 spot and they still have David Anyan and Greg Oden. Eugene Whitmore's the PF and even though he's 32, his 7'3, 300 lbs frame and his skill set remind me a -lot- of Victor Gipson. Yet, the Raptors are still picked 7th. Asinine, I tell you.

I almost feel sorry for David Jackson. He finally won over the Hornets staff and got a starting job last year and what happens? Victor Gipson comes to New Orleans and steals it, just like he did in Denver. When you consider that Patrick Pastner's there too, it's a weird reunion of former Nuggets players on the same team. That's a blowup waiting to happen.

Denver Nuggets 2022 Opening Night Roster
PG Paulinho Buboltz
SG Mateen Yeaton
SF Vinston Henry
PF Kevin Bradford
C Jonte Jones
6th Carlton Goree (PG/SG)
7th Joem Layne (SG/SF)
8th Darren Hare (PG/SG/SF)
9th Tzvetan Kishishev (SF/PF/C)
10th Winston Smith (PF/C)
11th Jameel Williams (PG/SG)
12th Lindsey Williamson (SF/PF/C)

D-League
Darren Davis - Starting SG
Jonathan Hill - Starting PF

We're going to see in a hurry just what these rookies are made out of. In fact, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that how far we get depends on how quickly they pan out.
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Old 12-14-2008, 07:40 PM   #418
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I have no idea what to expect out of this year's Nuggets. We're a curious blend of really young and really old and that type of mishmash is hard to get a read on.

We kick off with a 114-101 win over the Lakers engineered by Jonte Jones's 21 points and 14 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz's 25 points and 14 assists and 14 and 11 points respectively from benchmen Carlton Goree and Tzvetan Kishishev. None of the rookies impress, but that's perhaps to be expected.

Our opponents score 101 points, but once again we win, topping the Timberwolves with 120 points of our own. Paulinho Buboltz is brilliant for 30 points, Mateen Yeaton scores 25 and Jonte Jones adds 20 points. Carlton Goree and Jameel Williams pace the bench with 12 and 11 points a piece.

Utah whips us 114-95 as we can only muster 23 points from Jonte Jones and 11 bench points from Carlton Goree. The rookies have been flat out awful in the early going.

Two close games in the first doubleheader of the year and we get a split. The Jazz beat us again, 96-91, as 17 points and 17 rebounds from Jonte Jones, Mateen Yeaton's 22 points and Paulinho Buboltz's 18 points and 11 assists can't redeem us. But we rebound for a 109-100 victory against Seattle the next night, Vinston Henry scoring 26 to team up with Jonte Jones's 28 points and 15 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton's 23 points and Paulinho Buboltz's 14 points and 19 assists to scrape it out.

A solid 100-85 win over the Pistons is keyed by balanced offense, Jonte Jones's 19 points and 19 rebounds and Carlton Goree's 11 bench points. Darren Hare has yet to appear in a game, I've noticed.

We lose 101-92 to the Kings in Sacramento, Jonte Jones's 25 points and 15 rebounds our lone highlight. I'm getting the sense that we're just not that good this year and we'll be a borderline playoff team, if that.

But as long as we have our core of Jonte Jones (24 points, 19 rebounds), Mateen Yeaton (28 points) and Paulinho Buboltz (19 points, 12 assists) we'll be good enough to do things like beat Toronto 105-93.

On the other hand, when we're seeing things like 22 points from Mateen Yeaton, 15 points and 18 assists from Paulinho Buboltz and bench showings of 12, 11 and 14 bench points from Carlton Goree, Tzvetan Kishishev and Winston Smith and still losing 116-106 to the Bulls, it's a reminder that a) we're really a .500 team this season and b) once our core group retires, things are going to get ugly in a hurry.

Rough 125-122 loss to the Mavericks, ruining 34 points and 10 rebounds from Jonte Jones, 36 points from Mateen Yeaton, Paulinho Buboltz's 14 points and 22 assists and the 14 points off the bench we get from Carlton Goree.

A 108-95 victory over the Nets on Mateen Yeaton's 25 points, Paulinho Buboltz's 19 points and 16 assists and Winston Smith's sensational 18 points off the bench helps staunch the bleeding, but there's no illusions here.

Fortunately the win train picks up with a doubleheader sweep. Jonte Jones brutalizes the Spurs for 31 points and 15 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton adds 36 points and Carlton Goree scores 10 as we roll San Antonio 126-99. Houston falls 114-101 as Jonte Jones puts up 22 points and 14 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz issues 10 points and 10 assists and three bench players reach double-digit scoring: Carlton Goree (12 points), Winston Smith (10 points) and Joem Layne (11 points) in the first noteworthy performance by one of the three rookies on our roster.

Defense gives a 95-83 quashing of the Hornets. Kevin Bradford looks like a #2 pick for the first time all year with 17 points and 14 rebounds, even as he's overshadowed by Jonte Jones (22 points, 10 rebounds). Winston Smith contributes 10 points off the bench.

The month ends on a positive note, a 99-85 victory over the Cavaliers as Jonte Jones fights his way through for 12 points and 12 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 24, Paulinho Buboltz has 12 points and 11 assists and Carlton Goree scores 15 off the bench.

That makes us a respectable 10-5 after one month of play, a game and a half behind 11-3 Portland (We've seen that one before), half a game behind 11-5 Utah and with a half-game edge on 9-5 Minnesota. Crowded Northwest picture so far.

Dallas is just ripping the league up at 15-2 and the hatemail for my having traded Marcelino Augusto grows exponentially by the day.

In the East, Chicago's proving preseason predictions right with a staggering 11-1 mark.

Vinston Henry needs to shoot better than 40.8%. Kevin Bradford has overcome a slow start and is shooting 52.1%, but his ceiling still looks really limited compared to the other high picks and it's not certain he'll even last the year here.
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:35 PM   #419
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Can you post a career comparison for Oden and Durant?
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:00 AM   #420
damnMikeBrown
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Almost quit reading when you traded Augusto. You have the draft to dream of a guy like that to draft.... Sometimes a straight flush is good enough..does this GM need to keep going for the royal flush?
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:08 AM   #421
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Don't worry, nobody leaves the Nuggets forever. They all come back ...
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:56 AM   #422
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Cap Ologist: Sure, but probably tomorrow or the day after. I spent 6 hours in the ER yesterday and am wonked out on prescription medication. I'm trying to get one of my classes to be set as an incomplete, plus I have to give my second class their final tomorrow and then grade those and determine their final grades, etc.

damnMikeBrown: You, Barkeep and CW can form and write to firejestor.com And yeah, it was probably stupid of me to trade him, but such is life. I'm glad you suck around, though.

Autumn: Touche`. There do tend to be a lot of multi-tour Nuggets, though I don't know if Augusto will ever fall into that category. Too much bad blood.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:38 PM   #423
JetsIn06
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Location: Rahway, NJ
I want this game! It doesn't work on my computer!

Well, the demo doesn't so I'm scared to buy the game.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:28 PM   #424
Barkeep49
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not too far away
Didn't work last Saturday so I'm catching up two weeks worth. I'm reading along and all of a sudden I see the Buboholitz trade and am estatic to see him back in Denver. Makes up for the Trade that Shall not be Mentioned. That is until I keep reading and see Marteen get injured. Looking forward to the other twists and turns that will come.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:47 PM   #425
Barkeep49
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Izulde: I hope everything is OK. I'm glad that Augusto got his ring. And FTR, I don't want you to be fired. You have done too good a job for too long in building and maintaining the Nuggets for you to be fired. But you know, I'd really REALLY prefer you not go around trading likely future HOFers when they're in their early 20s. Especially if they're big men.
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Old 12-21-2008, 12:13 AM   #426
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Jetsin06: What types of problems are you having?

Barkeep49: Yeah the Buboltz/Yeaton backcourt pairing drew a ton of attention.

Barkeep 49 (x2): Things have just been hectic the last few days what with the food poisoning, final exam grading and final grade submitting, traveling back to WI, etc. I should have another update in a day or so, maybe even tonight. Fair point taken on the HoF big men. FWIW, I think Augusto will win at least a couple more rings before he's done. The Mavericks have a ridiculously good young trio in Arnold, Allen and Augusto. The Triple A Team could well turn Dallas into the Raptors and Nuggets of the 2020s.

For Cap Ologist

Greg Oden/Kevin Durant Comparison

Greg Oden
2007 Stats: - 74 games/70 starts - 12.8 PPG 8.5 RPG 2.9 APG 1.7 BPG 0.8 SPG
2008 Stats: - 82 games/80 starts - 13.6 PPG 10.8 RPG 3.4 APG 2.3 BPG 1.0 SPG
2009 Stats: - 82 games/79 starts - 15.1 PPG 14.7 RPG 4.2 APG 2.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2010 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 16.2 PPG 14.1 RPG 4.7 APG 2.8 BPG 1.2 SPG
2011 Stats: - 82 games/79 starts - 17.0 PPG 14.7 RPG 3.2 APG 2.8 BPG 1.0 SPG
2012 Stats: - 82 games/79 starts - 14.8 PPG 13.0 RPG 3.6 APG 2.5 BPG 1.0 SPG
2013 Stats: - 82 games/80 starts - 14.7 PPG 14.6 RPG 3.2 APG 2.9 BPG 1.1 SPG
2014 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 16.4 PPG 15.1 RPG 3.4 APG 2.6 BPG 0.8 SPG
2015 Stats: - 82 games/77 starts - 13.3 PPG 13.9 RPG 2.8 APG 2.3 BPG 0.8 SPG
2016 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 14.8 PPG 15.7 RPG 4.8 APG 2.8 BPG 1.1 SPG
2017 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 13.8 PPG 15.5 RPG 3.2 APG 2.5 BPG 1.0 SPG
2018 Stats: - 82 games/79 starts - 13.4 PPG 16.1 RPG 4.2 APG 2.9 BPG 0.8 SPG
2019 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 14.0 PPG 15.4 RPG 3.7 APG 2.7 BPG 1.0 SPG
2020 Stats: - 82 games/80 starts - 13.6 PPG 14.7 RPG 4.0 APG 2.5 BPG 1.0 SPG
2021 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 15.1 PPG 15.0 RPG 3.2 APG 2.6 BPG 1.0 SPG

Kevin Durant
2007 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 14.4 PPG 5.2 RPG 2.3 APG 0.5 BPG 1.0 SPG
2008 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 14.6 PPG 5.9 RPG 2.5 APG 0.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2009 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 21.0 PPG 7.7 RPG 3.0 APG 0.7 BPG 1.4 SPG
2010 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 7.9 RPG 3.5 APG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2011 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 19.7 PPG 7.2 RPG 3.1 APG 0.7 BPG 1.4 SPG
2012 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 20.1 PPG 7.9 RPG 3.3 APG 0.7 BPG 1.6 SPG
2013 Stats: - 40 games/40 starts - 20.4 PPG 7.7 RPG 3.2 APG 0.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2014 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 17.9 PPG 7.1 RPG 2.9 APG 0.8 BPG 1.1 SPG
2015 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 19.0 PPG 7.6 RPG 3.6 APG 0.9 BPG 1.4 SPG
2016 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 17.6 PPG 7.7 RPG 3.0 APG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2017 Stats: - 54 games/54 starts - 21.7 PPG 7.3 RPG 2.9 APG 0.5 BPG 1.3 SPG
2018 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 20.0 PPG 8.9 RPG 3.7 APG 0.8 BPG 1.4 SPG
2019 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 18.4 PPG 8.8 RPG 3.6 APG 0.7 BPG 1.0 SPG
2020 Stats: - 66 games/66 starts - 18.9 PPG 8.5 RPG 3.7 APG 0.8 BPG 1.1 SPG
2021 Stats: - 82 games/82 starts - 18.9 PPG 9.1 RPG 3.9 APG 0.7 BPG 1.3 SPG

It's only been one month into the 2022 season, so I didn't bother with that statline
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Old 12-21-2008, 02:31 AM   #427
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
We have a problem.

Bob Neal called my cell this morning and angrily demanded that we reduce our player salary bill. This season. The sooner, the better for my job.

"If you can't cut the wages, I'll cut you, championship or no championship."

Those were his final words before he hung up.

It really, really sucks having an owner who doesn't give a damn about winning.

So, now what?

I'll review the previous month's trades before looking at our own situation.

Indiana Pacers receive
SF Steven Feaster

Miami Heat receive
SF Rick Smith
SG Chauncey Thomas
Indiana Pacers 2023 2nd round pick

What this means for the Pacers
Feaster has good scoring instincts and an accurate shot. The 23 year old 4th year man is also a nice big 6'10, 223 to throw in the three spot with average rebounding and defensive skills. As he develops more faith in himself and takes more shots, he should become the offensive weapon Indiana needs after Nigel Abel retires. He's also extremely consistent and doesn't care about playing for a winning team, just so long as he gets his minutes, which he will as a starter for the Pacers.

What this means for the Heat
Smith is an average defender and a terrific FT shooter, which are the best things that can be said about the second year player. He's strictly an end of the bench man, even on as bad a team as Miami. Thomas is a great defender with some scoring pop off the bench, but he's 33 and never lived up to the hype that made him a Top 10 pick (7th overall - 2011 - Seattle). In fact, he was a full-time starter for just one season, in 2017 with the Clippers.

Winner: Indiana
Pete LaBraggio continues the Pacers' rebuilding project and he pulls a brillant trade here, giving up scrubs for a player who should be a valuable part of Indiana's feature. The dysfunction continues in Miami, with no hope of respectability in sight any time soon for the Heat.

Philadelphia 76ers receive
C Daniel Wilder

New York Knicks receive
PF Yi Jianlian
Philadelphia 76ers 2023 2nd round pick

What this means for the 76ers
Wilder's a respectable scorer and a pretty good shotblocker, but his strongest attribute is as a rebounder. On the other hand, some might say that luck is his biggest strength, because he keeps managing to find starting gigs despite not being all that talented a player. He does it again here and takes over as the five in Philly.

What this means for the Knicks
Yi's strictly a financial flexibility acquisition, as he's a $7.2 million expiring contract. The second round pick isn't worth much.

Winner: Philadelphia
The Knicks are going to miss Wilder more than they appreciate the $7.2 million coming off the cap next summer, I think and indeed, the Knicks are 5-9 as of December 1st. Contrast this with the 76ers, who, with their new starter, are 9-5. Early in the season, yes, but noteworthy nonetheless.

Houston Rockets receive
SG Derrick Young

Chicago Bulls receive
C Damon Fuhs

What this means for the Rockets
Houston tacks on a guard, which is at least slightly different than their glut of swingmen. Young's got the potential to develop into a solid offensive option off the bench, but the 26 year old is still a little raw yet, even in his 5th season.

What this means for the Bulls
Fuhs, 24 and in his second year, could turn into a role rebounder, but that's it. He's also buried on the end of the Bulls bench.

Winner: Houston
Despite the fact that this adds more small players onto a roster lacking in bigs, there's a lot to like about Young's potential, particularly as a 6th man/borderline starter type. The trade makes no sense from Chicago's perspective. But when the Bulls are off to the hot start they are, I suppose it doesn't matter.

Now for an examination of the Nuggets.

We're $18.2 million over the cap. I might be able to save my job if we can get it under $15 million. Our three biggest contracts are Paulinho Buboltz, Mateen Yeaton and Jonte Jones.

Naturally I'm not trading Yeaton. I'll trade for him if I get fired, but there's no way in hell I'm dealing him out. This brings us down to Jones vs. Buboltz.

Buboltz has the best trade value, but our fans are absolutely loving the Buboltz/Yeaton backcourt. Jones, on the other hand, is our most consistent player, even if he's been notoriously injury-prone during his two years here and a month here.

They're both fan favorites and their contracts are roughly equal. I really don't see any other options than those two that wouldn't also affect our efforts to try and transistion into a youth moment after our Big Three move on.

It's the ogre's choice before us.

Fortunately, we're able to strike a deal.

Denver Nuggets receive
C Patrick Riley
SG Mark Lyles
Sacramento Kings 2024 2nd round pick
Sacramento Kings 2025 2nd round pick

Sacramento Kings receive
C Jonte Jones
Dallas Mavericks 2023 1st round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Injury-proneness and rumblings from the Denver ownership about wanting a lower cap number led to Jones's departure after just over two seasons in Denver. Riley, 27, is a phenomenal shotblocker who's finally beginning to grow into his mammoth offensive gifts in his 8th season. He's a terrible passer and ballhandler out of the post, but he's younger and he'll provide the Nuggets greater force on the defensive end along with some pretty good rebounding hops. 25 year old Lyles is decent at everything with no real standout parts of his game. He's precisely the kind of all-around player you want on a bench and at 6'7, 206 lbs, the third year man fits the big guard prototype GM Jestor loves so much and can also play the 3.

What this means for the Kings
Sacramento now has some explosive firepower in the lineup between Jones, Kenny Graham, Justin Barnes and Kelvin Johnson. Jones also provides terrific rebounding and the type of consistency that every GM and team dreams of. Even at 32, he's still one of the top players in the league. The first round pick of Dallas's looks to be a lock for #29 or 30.

Winner: Draw
Everybody and their mother's uncle knew a trade was coming. Jestor faced immense pressure from the ownership to cut salary and he did extremely well to get the pieces he did under that scenario. While Riley won't make anyone forget Jones any time soon, he's a 4-star caliber player who fills in some weaknesses that Jones had and Lyles was a nice bonus pickup. The Kings, on the other hand, finally have the type of proven Finals MVP player who can get them over the hump and challenging for the West title after coming up short so many years. In short, this is a win-win deal for both teams's situations.

Other moves may be forthcoming, but I got the most painful extraction out of the way.

Patrick Riley makes a huge splash in his Nuggets debut with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 8 blocks and a steal in our 108-91 victory over the Heat. Mateen Yeaton scores 22, Paulinho Buboltz comes up with 14 points, 14 assists, Carlton Goree scores 14 off the bench and Winston Smith adds yet another 14 with 14 points and 10 rebounds. I think this may turn out better than I thought. Then again, it's only Miami.

We destroy the Magic 120-78 on Mateen Yeaton's 34 points, Kevin Bradford's 17 points and 10 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz's 17 points and 14 assists and a second straight, 14 point, 10 rebound outing from Winston Smith, who's quickly turning out to be our biggest surprise early in the season.

101-94's the final in our win over Washington, Paulinho Buboltz leading the way with 24 points and 13 assists. Kevin Bradford double-doubles with 10 points and 11 rebounds, Patrick Riley adds 16 points and 19 rebounds and Tzvetan Kishishev scores 10 off the bench.

Game two of our seven game road trip is a 102-78 whipping by the Raptors. Mateen Yeaton and Paulinho Buboltz just miss the 20 point mark with 19 a piece, but we flat-out got our asses handed to us in Toronto and that's all there is to it.

The Knicks smack us around 99-87 despite Mateen Yeaton's 25 points and 15 points and 12 rebounds from Patrick Riley. We just really struggle at the forward spots right now and Vinston Henry needs to pick it up or he's going to earn himself a ticket out of here.

We narrowly escape Philadelphia with a 111-110 win powered by Paulinho Buboltz's 36 points and 12 assists, Vinston Henry's 21 points and 14 bench points from Tzvetan Kishishev. But then we come out flat in Boston and the Celtics beat us 108-96, nevermind Mateen Yeaton's 28 points or Patrick Riley's 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Our last hope for a winning record in this brutal road trip comes in a doubleheader against the Heat and the Magic. Miami obliges by falling 96-82 to our three-headed backcourt of Paulinho Buboltz (28 points), Mateen Yeaton (20 points) and Carlton Goree (13 bench points), but Orlando exacts revenge for the earlier loss, beating us 124-114. Nice outing by Mateen Yeaton with 34 points and Paulinho Buboltz and Carlton Goree tried with 14 points and 11 assists and 14 points off the bench respectively, but it just wasn't enough to prevent the 3-4 road record.

Home sweet home sees a relaxing 110-96 throttling of the Suns. Mateen Yeaton's on fire for 39 points, Paulinho Buboltz chips in 15 points and 13 assists and Carlton Goree again leads the reserves with 12 points.

We really suck at playing on the road this year. Seattle just straight rapes us 115-92, even though Mateen Yeaton continues to play his heart out with 26 points, Paulinho Buboltz issues 14 points and 20 assists and Patrick Riley puts up 11 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocks.

But what a sweet Christmas Eve it is when we outpoint Dallas 109-104 in front of the home crowd. Mateen Yeaton scores 24, Paulinho Buboltz adds 21 points, Vinston Henry shows up for 16 points and 12 rebounds and Carlton Goree plays an early Santa with 10 points and 13 assists as our 6th man. We win on Christmas Day too, California oh so sunny and bright on Christmas night as we trash Golden State 105-84. Paulinho Buboltz is at the forefront with 24 points and 10 assists, but Mateen Yeaton's right behind with 23 points and 11 rebounds and Kevin Bradford breaks through for 22 points. Patrick Riley gets a double-double as well, good for 11 points and 18 rebounds.

We host the 76ers and unkindly beat them 115-102 on Mateen Yeaton's 31 points and Carlton Goree coming to the rescue after Paulinho Buboltz's foul trouble with 21 points and 15 assists. Talk about being the calvalry!

Sadly, the year ends in ice, snow and misery as the Lakers crush us 118-82, 17 points and 13 assists from Paulinho Buboltz and 12 bench points from Winston Smith too meager consolation on New Year's Eve and nothing can salve the pain of losing 95-93 to the Clippers on New Year's Day. 21 points from Mateen Yeaton, 19 points and 10 rebounds from Patrick Riley and Carlton Goree's 13 bench points fall just short of completing the rally against one of the West's best teams.

Despite our difficult December, we still cling to a half-game lead over Utah at 19-12. But Portland's only a game back and Minnesota's lurking a game and a half behind to complete the Northwest staircase.

Dallas is 26-4 and holds a ridiculous 13.5 game lead in their division already. The Clippers lead the Pacific by four games over the surprisingly .500 Kings at 18-12.

Chicago cooled off in December's chill, but they're still 23-5, enjoying a 3.5 game lead on the Bucks. Toronto's firmly returned themselves to the Atlantic throne at 25-7, 6.5 games ahead of the Nets, as the Knicks have completely imploded so far this year and are 13-17. Charlotte's returned to Southeast dominance after a few years of disappearing from the title scene. They're 18-10, 2.5 up on the Hawks.

I'll do comparisons next month. I suppose it doesn't make sense to do Jonte Jones/Marcelino Augusto anymore, though I should mention that Jones broke his hand after 7 games with the Kings and is out another 36 days to boot.

Talk about a tough last few seasons for Jones. But at least he has his ring and Finals MVP award with Denver to show for it.

Talk about me making the smart decision in choosing which of the three to trade.
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Old 12-21-2008, 03:45 AM   #428
JetsIn06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
Jetsin06: What types of problems are you having?


Haha. Wow. I went to try it to check what error it was and now it works!

I just might have to purchase myself a copy this morning.
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Old 12-21-2008, 04:29 AM   #429
JetsIn06
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Rahway, NJ
So Izulde...are you a fan of this interface?

I think it looks fantastic but I'm having a little bit of trouble finding my way around.
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Old 12-21-2008, 01:25 PM   #430
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by JetsIn06 View Post
So Izulde...are you a fan of this interface?

I think it looks fantastic but I'm having a little bit of trouble finding my way around.

I like it a lot, yes. There's a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to the interface, it's quite nice in my opinion.
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:23 PM   #431
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Minnesota Timberwolves receive
PG Sam Hamilton
Milwaukee Bucks 2023 2nd round pick

Milwaukee Bucks receive
SG Adam Jones
SF Samaki Hall

What this means for the Timberwolves
Hamilton's a largely unremarkable guard, but neither is he going to hurt Minnesota. Some ability on defense and ballthievery are his highlights.

What this means for the Bucks
Jones is an excellent defender, but that's the only dimension to his game. The 33 year old Hall can play all five positions and still has a respectable outside shot, but he's clearly in the twilight phase of his career.

Winner: Draw
Not an exciting trade for either team and none of these players are going to have an appreciable effect on their new employers.

Boston Celtics receive
SF Ross Crispin

Golden State Warriors receive
SF LeRoy Romano

What this means for the Celtics
The 29 year old Crispin can bring the points off the bench, but he needs to because he's an absolute sieve on the defensive end. He's also a respectable ballhandler.

What this means for the Warriors
Romano can play all five spots, none of them very well and he's particularly bad at shooting. In fact, he's so bad that he's at the end of Golden State's bench, something that doesn't often happen with these types of versatile players.

Winner: Boston
Just from a pure talent standpoint, the Celtics win this one.

San Antonio Spurs receive
PF Todd Dissinger

Miami Heat receive
SF Julian Wright
San Antonio Spurs 2023 2nd round pick

What this means for the Spurs
Dissinger's a proven scorer, even if he's inconsistent and bitched and bitched until he got out of Miami, especially after losing his starting job with the Heat. The change of scenery suits both him and the Spurs, as he'll step in as San Antonio's new starting C. Oh yes, there's also that lovely $8.6 million expiring contract. Won't grab a ton of rebounds or win any defensive awards, but he's still an upgrade over what they have now.

What this means for the Heat
Another month, another new lineup card needed. Wright plays great defense, still has good ballhandling skills and does okay on the point-producing end. But he's 35 and he's not happy about being dealt from the Spurs, especially to a team as dysfunctional as the Heat. Miami also gives up $600k in expiring cap space.

Winner: San Antonio
The Spurs could potentially compete for a playoff spot in the watered down West and more cap room is a good thing for next summer, as they're just $1.8 million over the cap right now. Miami adds a player, who, while good, is going to be a malcontent.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
PG Darrell James

Boston Celtics receive
Los Angeles Lakers 2023 2nd round pick

What this means for the Lakers
James is a very solid, durable, all-around veteran reserve guard option. While he never matched the hype that his early years suggested he might have, he's a good roleplayer to have, especially at the price.

What this means for the Celtics
They shed a little salary, get recently acquired Crispin some more minutes and go and grab extremely raw, but but extremely tanatalizing Sveto Lepinat from free agency.

Winner: Draw
James makes a nice pickup... if the Lakers were competing for a playoff spot. Then again, 2nd round picks rarely make it in today's NBA, so it's all a wash, really.

Cleveland Cavaliers receive
SF Luol Deng
Boston Celtics 2023 2nd round pick

Boston Celtics receive
PF Brandon Gladieux

What this means for the Cavaliers
Even at 37, Deng has the defensive knack, four position versatility and scoring ability to still make his presence felt on the court. He's an end-bench player, but if Cleveland runs into any injury problems, he'll be extremely valuable insurance as they try to make a run for the Central.

What this means for the Celtics
2nd year man Gladieux doesn't excite in any facet. Worse still, he's a locker-room cancer and a half. Good idea in theory to interject youth, but he's a scrub he isn't going to get much PT.

Winner: Cleveland
This is the kind of small move that separates the good teams from the bad ones. Great little deal by the Cavaliers to cover themselves in case of disaster to one of their starters or more valued reserves. The fact that they get rid of a draft mistake on top of it makes it all the better.

I'm still looking to make some kind of a deal to bolster us at the forward spot, but for now, I'm going to wait and see.

Things start off well with a 106-73 reaming of the Spurs, Paulinho Buboltz our top man with 27 points and 10 assists. Mateen Yeaton scores 20, Vinston Henry nets 14 points and 11 rebounds and Darren Hare surprises with 11 points off the bench. But the Rockets dismantle us 111-89 the next night, Paulinho Buboltz's 23 points our lone highlight.

It's unacceptable to be playing the type of .500 ball we are, so I go ahead and hunt for an upgrade at forward now rather than later.

Denver Nuggets receive
PF Deon Sterley

Indiana Pacers receive
C Kevin Bradford

What this means for the Nuggets
Sterley, 20, the #4 pick in this year's draft, has first-rate potential, particularly as a monster defender and rebounder, but he's not there yet. He was chained to the bench in Indiana, but this extremely hard-working rookie will be the starting PF in Denver, where the Nuggets are hoping he can be the next Emeka Okafor.

What this means for the Pacers
Bradford quickly wore out his welcome in Denver by not being aggresive enough in shooting and having a limited ceiling. He's perfect for the traditionally big-man parched Pacers, where he'll serve as the team's new 6th man and form an intriguing trio of young bigs in him, James Bellairs and Lee McRae.

Winner: Denver
Rawness aside, we like Sterley's potential a hell of a lot more than Bradford's and he's the perfect fit in Denver. GM Jestor isn't one to sit idly by when the team's struggling and he makes another great deal here.

104-92 loss to Sacramento in our first game, but we're on the road. 19 points and 14 rebounds from Patrick Riley, but that's all she wrote. The next night we whip the Lakers 107-86 on Vinston Henry's best game as a Nugget with 37 points and 10 rebounds. Deon Sterley breaks out for 22 points, Patrick Riley puts up 10 points and 16 rebounds and Carlton Goree scores 11 off the bench.

But we're still not very good this year and we drop a critical 97-84 decision to the Timberwolves. Patrick Riley scores 25, but when Vinston Henry has a 3 for 20 night, you know we're probably going to lose.

Mateen Yeaton rescues us with 43 points against the Warriors as we knock aside Golden State 110-97, Paulinho Buboltz double-doubles for 19 points, 11 assists and Carlton Goree adds 10 points off the bench. We win two games in a row and beat a division opponent for what feels like the first time in forever when we beat Seattle 113-91 the next evening. Patrick Riley rises for 21 points and 13 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 24, Paulinho Buboltz makes it 3 20+ point Nuggets with 20 points and 12 assists and Winston Smith leads the bench with 10 points.

A blissful three in a row as we top Memphis 113-100 on Mateen Yeaton's thunderous 38 points, Deon Sterley's 20 points, Patrick Riley's 15 points and 10 rebounds and Paulinho Buoltz's 10 points and 17 assists.

But there's a brutal five game stretch that imperils our win streak, the first against none other than the Mavericks. And indeed, Dallas blows us out 110-85, our lone highlights 12 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks from Patrick Riley and Carlton Goree's 13 bench points.

Chicago hammers us by 30, 123-93, as we waste 24 points from Mateen Yeaton, 20 points from Deon Sterley, who's been insanely good for us since coming over from Indiana and Patrick Riley's double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds. We snap back the night after for a 101-88 drubbing of Detroit, Patrick Riley leading the way with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Mateen Yeaton scores 21 and Carlton Goree scores 16 off the bench.

But then we go out and drop both games of the concluding doubleheader. Milwaukee edges us by a single bucket, 99-97, negating Mateen Yeaton's 26 points. The real stunner is the Pacers prevailing 119-103, despite 32 points from Mateen Yeaton, 13 points and 10 assists from Paulinho Buboltz, another double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds from Patrick Riley and Carlton Goree's 10 bench points.

The month's somewhat redeemed by sweeping the final back-to-back. The Knicks go down 109-92 on Mateen Yeaton's 29 points, Patrick Riley's 23 points and 12 rebounds and Winston Smith's exploding off the bench for 19 points. More importantly, we beat the Trailblazers 92-85 in Portland as Paulinho Buboltz scores 24 and Winston Smith grabs an astounding 19 bench rebounds.

In spite of the concluding victory over Portland, we're 2 games back of the Blazers at 27-19, a game ahead of the Jazz, three in front of Minnesota and we'd be the #4 seed if the playoffs were held today. Realistically, I'd have to say that's what we are this season--a mid-tier playoff team.

Dallas is 36-8 and the next 3 teams in the division are all 19-28. Give them the damn title already! The Clippers are 26-19, enjoying a four game edge on Sacramento.

Toronto's wrestled back the East's top seed at 37-9, holding a 9 game divisional lead on the Nets. Chicago's got a 4.5 game advantage on Cleveland at 33-10 and 25-17 Charlotte is 3 games up on Atlanta and Washington.

Paulinho Buboltz
2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.6 PPG 8.1 APG 3.5 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 7.5 APG 3.3 RPG 0.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2021 Stats: 44 games/44 starts - 22.3 PPG 7.0 APG 3.6 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.6 SPG (Indiana)
2021 Stats: 36 games/36 starts - 17.8 PPG 8.3 APG 2.9 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.3 SPG (Denver)
2022 Stats: 46 games/46 starts - 16.2 PPG 10.7 APG 2.7 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.5 APG 4.7 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.6 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.0 PPG 2.7 APG 4.6 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 57 games/57 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.8 APG 4.3 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.4 SPG
2022 Stats: 46 games/46 starts - 23.1 PPG 1.9 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.3 SPG

Marcelino Augusto
2020 Stats: 63 games/63 starts - 26.7 PPG 9.1 RPG 3.1 APG 2.1 BPG 1.0 SPG
2021 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 22.5 PPG 9.7 RPG 2.7 APG 2.3 BPG 0.9 SPG
2022 Stats: 44 games/44 starts - 24.4 PPG 9.8 RPG 3.0 APG 2.9 BPG 1.2 SPG

Jonte Jones
2020 Stats: 66 games/66 starts - 22.2 PPG 12.2 RPG 2.7 APG 1.3 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 56 games/56 starts - 21.2 PPG 13.2 RPG 2.6 APG 1.5 BPG 1.1 SPG
2022 Stats: 22 games/22 starts - 19.2 PPG 11.9 RPG 2.5 APG 0.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:40 PM   #432
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Golden State Warriors receive
PG Mark Johnson

Miami Heat receive
PF Clifton Snyder
PF John West

What this means for the Warriors
Johnson is better suited to the two, as his good passing skills are undone by his turnover-proneness. He's got an intriguing, well-balanced shot arsenal with potential to be a scorer and can make the highlight steal, but he gives up a ton of points in the process. The third year player is still very much growing into his game.

What this means for the Heat
Miami seems to have adopted Denver's philosophy of wholesale changes, because here's yet another roster shifting. Snyder is a 6th man with good scoring pop and very good defense and looks like the heir apparent to Mike Vines at PF.. if he stays that long. West can play a little D, but he's here for the $4.1 million expiring contract.

Winner: Miami
The combination of Snyder and the freed up money next summer is worth more than Johnson, who never should've been #1 overall pick. With the Heat just $1 million over the cap right now, Miami might be able to make a run for a decent player in free agency with their impending cap room.

Sacramento Kings receive
SG Steve Neal
Boston Celtics 2023 2nd round pick

Boston Celtics receive
SG Chris Carr
SF Gary LaFlem

What this means for the Kings
Neal's a great defensive boost for the Kings bench and will add a few points on the board, but he's also 33. At least he comes cheap, being on a veteran min-sal. The 2nd round pick is likely to be fairly high.

What this means for the Celtics
Carr's a former 2nd round pick and a scrub even at the D-League level. LaFlem can play a little defense, but he's also a 2nd round pick (in his second season) and is almost as bad as Carr. He's sitting on the inactive list.

Winner: Sacramento
The Kings see some improvement out of the trade, whereas the Celtics actually get worse. Maybe they're tanking for a higher percentage in the lottery, because that's the only way this deal makes sense for Boston.

Washington Wizards receive
SF Ron McPherson

Chicago Bulls receive
C Marcel Mance
Washington Wizards 2023 1st round pick

What this means for the Wizards
Washington's desparate to get into the playoffs and McPherson's a phenomenal defender with some great scoring ability who busts his butt every night on the court and in practice. What's shocking is that the Wizards are burying him on the middle of their bench.

What this means for the Bulls
McPherson was angry about not cracking into the starting lineup in Chicago, so the Bulls spun him into Mance, still an extremely capable all around big man at 33 and a probable mid-1st round pick. Mance also has just two years left on his contract, as opposed to 4 for McPherson.

Winner: Chicago
Excellent spin move by the Bulls, getting some good value for McPherson, especially when his trade was a fait accompli. Tipping the trade even more in Chicago's favor is Washington's mishandling of McPherson, who should by all rights be a starter.

Detroit Pistons receive
PG Derrick Sterett

New Jersey Nets receive
C Dan Jacobson
Detroit Pistons 2023 2nd round pick

What this means for the Pistons
Sterett is a sensational ballthief and a smart player who can score some points. Not a first offense option and not a great floor general, though. He's worth $11.5 million off the books next summer, which may be his greatest value for the Pistons. As is, he'll be the first guard off the bench and a defensive upgrade when he goes in for starter Craig Shehan.

What this means for the Nets
Jacobson is huge at 7'3, 290 lbs and even at 35, he's a tough-nosed defender and shotblocker able to produce a few points and grab a few rebounds. He's a big player for New Jersey's bench and gives them a much needed defensive force. On the other hand, he's on a two year deal, so New Jersey gives up some financial flexibility in the deal.

Winner: Detroit
The money off the books tips this in the Pistons' favor, though the deal's an improvement for each team.

Funny to see a couple of former Nuggets move. I always did like Jacobson, even if I didn't think he was the answer for as the starting C. He and Victor Gipson remind me a lot of each other, actually, though Jacobson's better on the defensive end, whereas Gipson is a more reliable option on offense.

I'm pondering a move at the trade deadline, but I'm not quite sure yet. There's a player who's on the verge of getting kicked out the door, especially since he could bring us some excellent dividends.

February starts with a 103-81 reaming of Golden State, led by Mateen Yeaton's 30 points and Patrick Riley's 21 points and 10 rebounds. Carlton Goree gets 17 points and 9 assists off the bench and Winston Smith adds 12 points of his own.

An important divisional doubleheader ends in a split. We spank the Jazz 110-79 on Mateen Yeaton's second straight 30 point game, Vinston Henry's 23 points and 11 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz's 13 points and 12 assists, and Carlton Goree and Winston Smith headlining the reserves again with 18 and 12 points respectively. Then Minnesota gives us our own medicine in an embarassing 104-76 loss in Minneapolis that's completely highlight-less. Easily our worst game of the season.

Following that performance, I strike a trade and get a player I've coveted before in previous discussions with a certain team as well as bring back an old favorite.

Denver Nuggets receive
PF Tim Butler
C David Jackson
New Orleans Hornets 2023 1st round pick

New Orleans Hornets receive
SF Vinston Henry
C Patrick Riley
Sacramento Kings 2024 2nd round pick
Sacramento Kings 2025 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Oh, the irony. Two years after trading away Marcelino Augusto in part because of size concerns, the Nuggets pick up another talented, small young PF in Butler, who's just 6'8, but packs 228 pounds of muscle as opposed to Augusto's 217 frame over an inch more. Butler's a dynamite scorer with adequate defense and rebounding skills and a first-class chemistry guy. He's also a pretty good passer and ballhandler for a big man. He'll start at the 4, moving Deon Sterley out to the 3. 50 Ninja returns to Denver and at long last, he'll get wish to be a starter again, sliding in as the Nuggets' starting five after being denied a starting spot in New Orleans following Victor Gipson's mid-level exemption signing with the Hornets last summer. The 1st round pick is an almost certain lottery selection to boot.

What this means for the Hornets
Henry's subpar defense and shooting woes ran him out of Denver, but he's still growing into his immense offensive and rebounding talents and he'll be an adequate defender by the time he's developing. He's the perfect fit for the rebuilding Hornets and will take over at the 3. Riley's trade is a surprise, since GM Jestor is said to have really liked him, but he'll instantly stabilize the Hornets and give them a powerful inside force they've haven't had in years and years.

Winner: Draw
Jestor wants to win now, but we're not sure if Jackson + Butler > Riley and Henry. At the very least, it's reducing the highlight defense play to a significant degree. In terms of overall defense, that's a push as well. For actual offense, however, this looks like a poor man's version of the Mateen Yeaton/Marcelino Augusto pairing of years past. And of course, having the outspoken Jackson back in Denver and happily starting will be a major lockerroom benefit. The lottery pick is going to be huge, provided Jestor selects the right player. On the other hand, the Hornets position themselves to be a potential playoff team, possibly in as soon as two or three seasons, so this blockbuster works for both franchises.

It's a new lineup so I'm expecting a few bumpy spots. Hence, our 108-101 road loss to Cleveland doesn't unduly disturb me, especially not when Tim Butler scores 21 in his Nuggets debut and David Jackson celebrates his return to Denver with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Our other highlights are Mateen Yeaton's 23 points and Carlton Goree's 10 bench points.

Despite a furious rally by the Nets, we stop them 112-110 in New Jersey on Tim Butler's 31 points, David Jackson's 17 points and 10 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton's 20 points, Paulinho Buboltz's 14 points and 11 assists and Carlton Goree's 12 bench points. Once our team chemistry gets sorted out and these guys get used to playing with each other, I think we're going to be a great team.

106-97 earns us a win over the Hawks in Atlanta, David Jackson putting up 18 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks. Tim Butler grabs 15 points and 10 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 20 and Carlton Goree adds 10 points off the bench. Unfortunately, jet lag takes over as we lose the next night to Charlotte, 112-107 in OT after blowing a fourth quarter lead. Thus we do spoil Tim Butler's 20 points, Mateen Yeaton's 25 points, Paulinho Buboltz's 18 points and 11 assists and 12 bench points a piece from Carlton Goree and Mark Lyles.

The Sophomores win out 98-92 over the Rookies. Deon Sterley started for the Rooks and had a horrible shooting night, just 3 of 10 for 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block. Joem Layne was even worse off the bench: 2 of 7 for 4 points, 2 rebound and 2 assists. Kevin Bradford didn't play because of a sprained finger. Man, I'm glad I traded him if he was going to be such a wuss bout that kind of thing.

Filip Mikulic is the All-Star MVP with 21 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and a steal as the West thumps the East 103-89. In a complete BS move, Mateen Yeaton didn't get named to the All-Star game, though Jonte Jones and Marcelino Augusto did, as a reserve and starter respectively. In fact, not a single Nugget made the All-Star team.

Jim O'Brien sells the boys the disrespect angle and Mateen Yeaton bombs Boston for 39 points and 8 rebounds in our wild 130-121 victory over the Celtics. Tim Butler contributes 26 points and 11 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz has 14 points and 11 assists, Carlton Goree issues 10 points and 10 assists from the bench and Winston Smith comes up with exactly 10 points as well.

It's the trade deadline and we make another small deal.

Denver Nuggets receive
PG Jeremy Steele
Phoenix Suns 2025 2nd round pick

Phoenix Suns receive
SG Mark Lyles

What this means for the Nuggets
Steele is a capable veteran guard, as the 30 year old is a good ballhandler with some defensive ability and an absolutely nasty 3 point shot. The deal also frees up some more PT for GM Jestor favorite Tzvetan Kishishev and the 2nd rounder is future trade bait.

What this means for the Suns
Lyles may not have as polished a game as Steele, but he's 5 years younger and is more accurate from FG range by a significant amount.

Winner: Denver
A tiny trade, one that could pay bigger dividends than it first appears for the Nuggets, who have been struggling all season long to get into a consistent rhythm.

Our biggest margin of victory since the blockbuster comes with a 120-101 win over Memphis. Tim Butler plays beautifully with 29 points and 11 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 23, Paulinho Buboltz magnificiently double-doubles with 24 points and 14 assists and Carlton Goree scores 12 bench points. The biggest story of the game for me, however, is Tzvetan Kishishev taking advantage of his increased PT to lead the second unit with 14 points. Now that's what I'm talking about.

The Hornets are fired up to play us in New Orleans, but we come back in the 4th quarter to escape with a 100-98 win on the wings of Tim Butler and Mateen Yeaton each scoring 22 points, Paulinho Buboltz with 11 points and 14 assists and excellent reserve play. Tzvetan Kishishev and Carlton Goree each score 10 off the bench and Winston Smith pulls down 12 boards.

February finishes fantastically with a 110-97 flooding of the Hawks. Paulinho Buboltz comes alive for 29 points and 13 assists, Mateen Yeaton scores 23, Tim Butler nets 17 points and 11 rebounds and Carlton Goree and Tzvetan Kishishev score 15 and 10 points respectively off the bench. That's three straight double-digit point nights for our Bulgarian since the deadline deal, in case you hadn't noticed.

Our terrific run of form since the All-Star break sees us at 35-22, two games back of Portland. Perhaps more notably, we're five and five a half respectively of the Timberwolves and Jazz, putting us very solidly in second place as we stalk the Trailblazers.

Dallas is 45-10, a sterling 24 games ahead of the Rockets and the Grizzlies. The 33-24 Clippers are fending off the Kings by 3.5 games in the Pacific.

Out East, the Raptors still rule at 45-11, a nice 11.5 games in front of the Nets. The Bulls run at 40-14, 4.5 ahead of the Cavaliers and the Bobcats hold a slim game and a half edge on the Magic at 32-22.

NBA Leaders

Points
T1. Justin Richler (TOR) - 27.5
T1. Nigel Abel (IND) - 27.5
3. Filip Mikulic (HOU) - 26.3
T4. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) - 24.6
T4. David Anyan (TOR) - 24.6
8. Mateen Yeaton (DEN) 23.3

Assists
1. Bernard Kelly (MEM) - 13.4
2. Branko Starcevic (SEA) - 12.4
3. Corey Neal (NJ) - 11.0
6. Paulinho Buboltz (DEN) - 10.5
8. Zelipe Gama (DAL) - 9.8

Rebounds
1. Greg Oden (TOR) - 15.2
2. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 14.7
3. Jonte Jones (SAC) - 13.3

Blocks
1. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 3.9
2. Walter Hicks (NJ) - 3.4
3. Milan Nouge (PHO) - 3.3
4. Patrick Riley (NO) - 3.2
9. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) - 2.7

Steals
1. Walter Hicks (NJ) - 2.1
T2. Kueth Hill (LAC) - 1.9
T2. Kyle Smith (CLE) - 1.9

Rookies Leaders

Points
1. John Walker (BOS) - 9.7
2. Teddy Harriman (NO) - 9.1
3. Kevin Bradford (IND) - 8.9
5. Deon Sterley (DEN) - 6.8

Assists
1. Teddy Harriman (NO) - 4.0
2. Tom Singletary (NO) - 3.7
3. Andre Harper (CLE) - 2.3

Rebounds
1. John Walker (BOS) - 6.3
2. Kevin Bradford (IND) - 6.0
3. Mark Vlasto (LAL) - 5.5

Blocks
1. Deon Sterley (DEN) - 1.4
T2. John Walker (BOS) - 1.0
T2. Billy Cullen (ATL) - 1.0

Steals
1. Kevin Bradford (IND) - 0.8
2. Deon Sterley (DEN) - 0.7
T3. Mark Vlasto (LAL) - 0.6
T3. Teddy Harriman (NO) - 0.6

D-League Report
The Colorado Timberjacks are 21-14, leading the West and the L.A. Sea Dogs by 4.5 games. Their success is thanks in no small part to Nuggets Darren Davis, who's averaging 11.2 points, 3.9 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 0.6 steals as the starting PG and Jonathan Hill, the team MVP as the starting PF with 13.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 blocks and 0.9 steals. He's also shooting an impressive 62.6% from the field and is 13th in the D-League in scoring.

Paulinho Buboltz
2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.6 PPG 8.1 APG 3.5 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 7.5 APG 3.3 RPG 0.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2021 Stats: 44 games/44 starts - 22.3 PPG 7.0 APG 3.6 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.6 SPG (Indiana)
2021 Stats: 36 games/36 starts - 17.8 PPG 8.3 APG 2.9 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.3 SPG (Denver)
2022 Stats: 57 games/57 starts - 16.0 PPG 10.5 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.5 APG 4.7 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.6 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.0 PPG 2.7 APG 4.6 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 57 games/57 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.8 APG 4.3 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.4 SPG
2022 Stats: 57 games/57 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.0 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.3 SPG

Marcelino Augusto
2020 Stats: 63 games/63 starts - 26.7 PPG 9.1 RPG 3.1 APG 2.1 BPG 1.0 SPG
2021 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 22.5 PPG 9.7 RPG 2.7 APG 2.3 BPG 0.9 SPG
2022 Stats: 55 games/55 starts - 24.6 PPG 10.0 RPG 3.1 APG 2.7 BPG 1.1 SPG

Jonte Jones
2020 Stats: 66 games/66 starts - 22.2 PPG 12.2 RPG 2.7 APG 1.3 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 56 games/56 starts - 21.2 PPG 13.2 RPG 2.6 APG 1.5 BPG 1.1 SPG
2022 Stats: 32 games/32 starts - 19.7 PPG 13.3 RPG 2.7 APG 0.8 BPG 1.4 SPG

I'm thrilled with how we're playing right now. For the first time all season, it feels like we have the talent and cohesiveness to win our division and make some noise in the playoffs. Beat Dallas? Probably not, but a trip to the conference finals certainly seems within reach now, where it didn't before.

And it's amazing how much cozier things seems with Tim Butler and a happy 50 Ninja.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:14 PM   #433
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50 Ninja Guarantees Division Title; #2 Playoff Seed

David Jackson hasn't been back in Denver very long, but he's already back to his old voluble self after two half-seasons of silence in New Orleans.

"We're going to win the Northwest and get the number two seed", the outspoken Jackson said, "Dallas, it's too late in the season to catch them, but by the end of the year, Portland's gonna be looking up at us and we're going to be the #2 team."

Indeed, there's reason to believe in Jackson's optimism. The deal that returned 50 Ninja to the Nuggets also netted Tim Butler, a 24 year old PF in his 5th season who reminds a lot of people of a certain Brazilian that used to play in the Mile High City.

Unlike Augusto, Butler is a team player, a charismatic young man who recognizes that these are Yeaton's Nuggets and will be until the superstar shooting guard retires.

"That's the one thing Marcelino didn't recognize. This is Mateen's team and it's always been Mateen's team ever since he stepped on the court", Jackson noted, "And Timmy B is just the coolest cat ever. When we found out we were going to Denver, he started pumping me for information about everybody, what it was like, that kind of stuff. Then the first day we get here, he goes and introduces himself to like, everybody. The other players, the coaches, the GM, hell, even the ticket people and the janitors."

Not only did Butler introduce himself to virtually everyone in the organization, it was apparent from the first day of practice that he has natural leadership, the kind that will see him be named team captain once Yeaton retires. In short, he's the star on which Denver's future hangs. GM Jestor is said to be so taken with Butler that he may well stay on in Denver after Yeaton's retirement, rather than moving to another team as rumored.

"He's a special kind of player", Hornets GM Jeff Bower noted, "Jestor's been after him for a few seasons now, but we refused to give him up until we got the kind of package we were looking for and I'll be the first to admit that this may be our own Augusto moment."

Not only is Butler a perfect fit for the Nuggets, helping them to an excellent 6-2 run since coming to Denver, including a 4-0 mark since the All-Star break, he, rookie Deon Sterley, acquired earlier in the year from Indiana, and the expected lottery pick from the Hornets in next year's draft will pave the way for continued Denver divisional dominance.

While the season still has yet to finish playing out, Jestor certainly appears to have made the moves to make Denver capable of delivering on Jackson's bold prediction, if not challenge for a return to the Finals and a ring.

***End Article***

I still can't believe the Hornets finally gave up Timmy B and a lottery pick on top of it. Vinston Henry was getting more consistent, but still nowhere near what we expected out of him and Patrick Riley aggravated me a little bit with his underachieving relative to his ridiculous talent.

It's a terrific feeling as we head into March.

Let's see what else went down in the tradewinds.

Chicago Bulls receive
PF Antonio Sarchet
Phoenix Suns 2023 2nd round pick

Phoenix Suns receive
PG Filip Svorda
C Damon Fuhs

What this means for the Bulls
Sarchet, 26 and in his 7th season, is an obscenely good shooter, as in a career 60.7% good. He's also a supreme rebounder, though don't expect him to be anything more than average on the defensive end. At 6'8, 239 lbs, he's a short, young, muscular, high-scoring four in the mold of Marcelino Augusto and Tim Butler, even if those others differ in their secondary skill set. This acquisition shifts Terry Vinson to the bench, which will greatly enhance the Bulls' reserves.

What this means for the Suns
Fuhs can rebound and play some D, but that's all the 24 year old can do. Sadly enough, he's now Phoenix's starting C, as Milan Nouge was lost for the year with a torn MCL. Worse still for Suns fans, 38 year old Andrea Bargnani is now the starting PF. 26 year old Svorda's got good offense game, great passing and ballhandling skills, excellent stealing talents and a very good understanding of the game. Yet, the Suns aren't starting him at PG and having Jon Ward at the 2, which would make the most sense.

Winner: Chicago
The Bulls' wise use of Sarchet makes this a slam dunk, especially when the Suns are being equally foolish in their mishandling of Svorda, who also lost his starting job in Chicago to a less worthy guard. Can the Czech be destined for Denver in a season or two? He fits the GM Jestor mode of under-utilized pass-first PG.

Charlotte Bobcats receive
PG Caleb James

New Orleans Hornets receive
PG Tom Singletary
SG Larry Dove

What this means for the Bobcats
James is a pretty good PG right now at 22 and the third year man has the upside to become one of the top PGs in the league by the time he's done developing. A very sweet shooting stroke, good passing and handling skills and yet another possible master of the steal, who's locked in to a multi-year deal at an extremely reasonable rate.

What this means for the Hornets
The rookie Singletary is weak on the defensive end, but he's got enough scoring pop and floor generalship to be a worthy reserve, which is what he'll be for the Hornets. Dove is a $3.1 million inactive expiring contract.

Winner: Charlotte
Yes, New Orleans has a glut of promising young guards, but they could've gotten more value than what they did for James. Singletary should never be a starter and the money from Dove's contract won't even come close enough to making the Hornets a free agent player. Charlotte, in counterpoint, has their PG now and for the future.

Charlotte Bobcats receive
PF Brandan Wright
Houston Rockets 2023 2nd round pick

Houston Rockets receive
PF LaMarcus Aldridge
PF Tyrus Thomas
SF Jarrod Owens

What this means for the Bobcats
Owens was cut by Houston and re-signed with Charlotte, so they really only give up Aldridge and Thomas to get Wright and the 2nd rounder. The 34 year old is a very good all-around player, particularly on the defensive end and steps in as Charlotte's starting 3. Plus, Wright's expiring contract is worth $2 million more than Thomas + Aldridge combined.

What this means for the Rockets
Aldridge is an average all-around player at 37, but still manages to be a starting PF. We like Thomas a lot better, particularly for his defensive toughness, but the Rockets are making him a reserve. The decision to add a pair of 37 year olds and give up $2 million in expiring cap room is a strange one for a team that's destined for the lottery, but Houston hasn't been a good team since the days of Yao.

Winner: Charlotte
That's two great pickups by the Bobcats this month and they should be able to clinch the Southeast with ease now. We really applaud the work of Steve Kerr.

Crazy how many of Augusto's type have been traded for this year, but his success really revolutionized the league and changed a lot of GMs' thinking about just how big a PF needs to be to star in the NBA. Even mine, obviously, or I wouldn't be so enthused about Timmy B.

A thrilling shootout is March's opening act and it's a 131-120 victory over the Pacers. Mateen Yeaton scores 33, Deon Sterley shows some flash of promise with 25 points and 10 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz distributes 13 points and 14 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev and Carlton Goree score 13 and 11 points off the bench respectively. Four in a row for our Bulgarian.

Defense dazzles in our 92-78 victory over the Clippers, as we finally give ourselves legitimacy by beating up one of the conference's best teams. Mateen Yeaton leads us with 31 points, Tim Butler puts up 21 points and 13 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz adds 14 points and 12 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev makes it five games in a row with 11 bench points.

We blow out the Traiblazers 116-96 in one of our biggest games of the year, if not the biggest. Paulinho Buboltz garners 24 points and 14 assists, Mateen Yeaton scores 22, Deon Sterley doubles for 11 points and 10 rebounds, Carlton Goree scores a sensational 18 reserve points and Tzvetan Kishishev extends his double-digit point streak to six games, scoring 11.

Our torrid run continues with a doubleheader sweep. Mateen Yeaton lights up San Antonio for 39 points in our 100-87 win, Paulinho Buboltz his sidekick with 19 points and 13 assists, even as Tzvetan Kishishev's streak comes to an end with a goose egg. No worries. It's Mateen Yeaton who blisters the Suns for 27 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 6 blocks in our 111-98 trampling of Phoenix, Tim Butler contributing 24 points and 10 rebounds. Carlton Goree's our top reserve this time, scoring 12.

The Bobcats give us a hell of a fight, but we prevail 102-95 on Mateen Yeaton's 28 points, Paulinho Buboltz's 14 points and 12 assists and Carlton Goree's 10 bench points.

It's even sweeter when we out and out embarass the Clippers 110-77, as Paulinho Buboltz devastates the Red and White for 32 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals and Tim Butler hammers them for 30 points. Talk about the hammer and anvil!

Mateen Yeaton singlehandedly crushes the Bucks for 37 points in our 118-80 laugher over Milwaukee, but credit also goes to reserves Carlton Goree and Winston Smith with 11 and 12 points respectively.

A sensational second half comeback to tie it up in regulation and a heartstopping OT period writes the script for our electric 107-106 win over the Wizards to keep our unbeaten streak alive. Tim Butler thunders for 30 points and 14 rebounds and Paulinho Buboltz powers his way to 27 points and 13 assists.

We lose for the first time since the All-Star break in our next game, a heartbreaking 115-112 loss to the Lakers in which Mateen Yeaton scores 34, Tim Butler adds 21 points and Winston Smith leads the second team with 10 points. I'm not complaining one bit, though, because that win streak was good for 13 games, one of the longest consecutive victory runs we've had since I've been here. In a year where I thought we were finished as a dynamite team, that says and means a lot.

I'm thrilled to see us shrug off the loss and go out and whip Jonte Jones and Kenny Graham and the Kings 119-88 a couple nights later. Mateen Yeaton pumps in 33 points, Tim Butler scores 20, Paulinho Buboltz double-doubles for 13 points and 15 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev gets back to scoring form with 11 bench points.

The Suns stun us 107-89 in Phoenix as we suffer through an ironically icy night from everyone but Mateen Yeaton, who finishes with 27 points. I'm not concerned. Games like this happen.

But then we lose 108-99 to the Jazz in Utah and I'm starting to get a touch worried about our focus after our amazing 13 game stretch after the All-Star break. Hard to blame Mateen Yeaton (21 points), David Jackson (10 points, 18 rebounds), Carlton Goree (11 bench points) or Winston Smith (12 bench points), though.

We split the back-to-back at the end of the month. Smashing the Spurs 107-74 is good, David Jackson showing off his ninja skills with 22 points and 13 rebounds, Paulinho Buboltz cobbling together 10 points and 12 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev scoring 11 off the bench, but the Traiblazers destroy us 113-84 in Portland. Our road woes are creeping up on us again, as once again we play like crap except for Mateen Yeaton (20 points) away from Denver.

The really infuriating thing? Despite our electric performance, we're still 2 bloody games behind Portland!. Even more annoying, Utah's staying in contention, just four games back of us. Dallas has their division clinched at 56-16 and all but mathematically have the #1 seed, as Portland's 48-24. The Clippers are 42-31, 2.5 in front of the surging Kings, who have salvaged their season to a 40-34 record to this point.

Unless we totally bomb the last ten games, we should be able to have the #3 seed at least, although I'd feel a -lot- better if we could win the division and have the #2 seed, especially given our 17-19 road record.

New Orleans, incidentally, has the worst record in the West at 17-55 and are the second-worst team in the league behind 17-57 Miami.

Speaking of the East, 56-16 Toronto's clinched the Atlantic. Chicago, 51-21, is 6.5 in front of Cleveland and 43-29 Charlotte has expanded their lead over Orlando to 4.5 games.

I still feel like we can win the Northwest, but we have to heat up again and Portland needs to cool off some.
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Old 12-25-2008, 10:38 PM   #434
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Time to get the fire going.

Splitting a back-to-back is not a good way to start things off, especially when both games are winnable. We beat Memphis 116-106 in OT on Tim Butler's 32 points and 10 rebounds and Tzvetan Kishishev's 16 bench points, but the Hornets sting us in Quarters 1 and 4 to buzz away with the 113-101 victory, negating Mateen Yeaton's 23 points and Paulinho Buboltz's 20 points and 12 assists.

Then again, both those games were on the road and it's little surprise that we lose the front end of the next back-to-back, because it's... yep, on the road. 108-80 stinkbomb fall to the Timberwolves, Tzvetan Kishishev and Carlton Goree's 10 and 12 bench points all you need to know about how badly we played. Then we go home and neutralize Seattle 95-83 as Mateen Yeaton scores 24 and we get a pair of double-doubles from Deon Sterley (12 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks) and David Jackson (12 points, 11 rebounds).

Mateen Yeaton scores 21 and Carlton Goree and Winston Smith add 13 and 18 points off the bench respectively to key us to a 113-103 win over Golden State that's naturally at home.

Two nights later, still in Denver, our three headed monster of Mateen Yeaton (33 points), Tim Butler (24 points) and Paulinho Buboltz (22 points) takes care of the Hornets 111-87. I wish I could figure out why we suck so bad on the road, but I'll take what we're doing at home thus far.

It's freaky how schizo we are at home versus the road. Paulinho Buboltz erupts for 35 points and 16 assists in our 124-72 obliteration of the Grizzlies, Mateen Yeaton and Carlton Goree his assistants with 27 points and 11 bench respectively. Then we go out the next night and get lost in Houston, the Rockets torpedoing us 116-88. Mateen Yeaton scores 25 and David Jackson nets 15 points and 11 rebounds, but I don't know if the boys are out getting drunk before games or what in cities not named Denver.

With two games left in the season, we're 51-29 and are guaranteed at least the 4 seed. Portland's half a game in front of us at 51-28, while the Clippers are still within striking distance of a 3 seed at 49-31. So basically, to have any shot at the division, we need to win out and to lock up the 3 seed, we have to win at least one of the two.

Away game: Phoenix
Home game: Portland

I actually see us splitting this the other way, beating the Suns and losing to the Blazers.

We torch the Suns 113-91, Mateen Yeaton rising to the occasion with 33 points, Carlton Goree issuing 10 assists off the bench and Tzvetan Kishishev and Winston Smith pulling the unusual trick of double bench rebounds at 11 and 12 a piece.

So we're guaranteed the #3 seed and now face Portland at home, who we're still a half-game behind. Mateen Yeaton plays one of the best games of his career with 40 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks and we go on to smash Portland to a pulp, 121-94. Paulinho Buboltz fires away for 22 points and 13 assists and Carlton Goree and Tzvetan Kishishev score 13 and 10 points off the bench.

Thus, we're now a half-game ahead of Portland and I'm not sure who wins the tiebreaker if we both end up 53-29. We do end up tied, as the Traiblazers beat the Lakers in their final game of the regular season. Now we just have to wait to see who gets the division and the #2 seed.

It's the Denver Nuggets! After a one year absence, we're again back as Northwest Division champions and the #2 seed in the playoffs!!!

Huge, huge, -huge- relief, especially after we finished with a 19-22 record on the road versus 34-7 at home.

West Conference Seeds
1. Dallas Mavericks (66-16)
2. Denver Nuggets (53-29)
3. Portland Trailblazers (53-29)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (50-32)
5. Utah Jazz (46-36)
6. Sacramento Kings (45-37)
7. Minnesota Timberwolves (45-37)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (35-47)

East Conference Seeds
1. Toronto Raptors (65-17)
2. Chicago Bulls (56-26)
3. New York Knicks (50-32)
4. Charlotte Bobcats (49-33)
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (48-34)
6. New Jersey Nets (47-35)
7. Orlando Magic (43-39)
8. Washington Wizards (42-40)

New Orleans Hornets just barely finish with the second-worst record in the league, with one less win than the Suns. The Heat, naturally, hold the worst record and hopefully they'll be just as terrible next year as well, when we hold that pick too.
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:13 AM   #435
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Join Date: Sep 2004
"For what seems like the hundredth year in a row, the Denver Nuggets open the playoff with a series against a divisional opponent. This season, it's the Minnesota Timberwolves and if projections hold, the Nuggets will face another divisional foe, the Portland Trailblazers, in the second round.

It's been a topsy-turvsy year in Denver, with multiple trades and lineup changes, but the Nuggets coaching staff and front office, including GM Jestor, believe they've assembled a unit that can at least match last season's West Conference Finals appearance and prevent an increasing decline from the team that won three straight championships and appeared in six consecutive NBA Finals.

Point Guard
Paulinho Buboltz vs. Major Drayton

Buboltz's scoring average hit its lowest point since his injury-shortened 2015 season, when he averaged 14.1 points in 55 games with the Pacers. But his 16.3 points per game is made up for in part by his career-high 10.2 assists, the first time in his career he's broken the double-digit assist barrier. The most successful 5'11 point guard in the league, with deft theft hands, as his 1.2 regular season steals show.

35 year old Drayton has been a Timberwolf his entire 14 years in the league, ever since he was drafted 7th overall in 2009. He's been the starter most of that time as well, despite the fact that scouts hate him and say he's not a legitimate starting PG. But despite the scorn of the evaluators, he flat-out produces, putting up 11 points, 10.2 assists, 1.1 blocks and a steal this year. He's also got four inches on the Brazilian Buboltz, but is much thinner. If the experts' assessment about his defensive ability is correct, he'll get lit up.

Advantage: Nuggets

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Bryan Young

Speaking of aging guards who seem to have a fountain of youth in their backyards, 34 year old Yeaton shrugged off the naysayers and put up an impressive 24.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals during the regular season. His defense is declining, as he's a step slower each year, and there's questions about his playoff shooting after last year's struggles, but we're convinced he's focused and determined after connecting on 51.9% of his shots this year.

Young is fairly young at 26, but he finds way to stop opponents from scoring without making any flashy plays. He's a scoring machine himself, as his 21.3 regular season points indicate. On the other hand, he's a terrible ballhandler and passer and he's 6'3. He's also not the most accurate shooter on the planet.

Advantage: Nuggets

Small Forward
Deon Sterley vs. Josh Smith

The rookie Sterley showed flashes of talent and an accurate shot after coming from Indiana in a trade for fellow Top 5 draftee Kevin Bradford, occasionally putting together a breakout game. His 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks may not look all that impressive, but he's still growing into his talents and is a solid player on the defensive end right now. Given a few more years in the league, especially if he manages to stay a starter, he should be a notable force.

Smith is on the opposite end of the career spectrum, as the 37 year old is in his 19th season and will probably be hanging it up soon. That said, he's still got a respectable all-around game and is a ferocious shotblocker, averaging 10.2 points, 2 blocks and a steal in the first 82 games.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Tim Butler vs. Kelvin Moody

Timmy B, as he's popularly called, has very quickly won the hearts of Nuggets Nation with his thunderous dunks, quicksilver rebounding and charismatic demeanor, always deferring praise to his teammates and the coaching staff and making it clear from Day One in Denver that he reveres Yeaton as the leader of the team. He doesn't make headlines on the defensive end, but his deceiving 17.6 points and 8.1 rebounds are all the Nuggets need out of the undersized power forward.

The 33 year old Moody, another careerlong Timberwolf (3rd overall, 2008), is even more revered in Minneapolis than Kevin Garnett was. He's a phenomenal scorer, a perennial All-Star, All-NBA Team and All-Defense Team member and arguably the single best PF in the entire league not named Marcelino Augusto. 21.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks for the regular season record are impressive, but despite his equally good playoff outings in the past, he's being dogged by the same questions that haunted Garnett: Can he lead the T-Wolves past an early exit from the playoffs? Thus far in his career, the answer's been no, as the furthest Minnesota's gotten is the second round in 2011 and 2019.

Advantage: Timberwolves

Center
David Jackson vs. Federico Gomez

50 Ninja is known more for his outspoken personality and his gold-certified rap albums than his basketball play, but he has an uncanny knack for drawing fouls and he's got the best hands of any big man in the league, which works extremely well in the Nuggets' offense. 8.2 points and 8 rebounds don't look that great, but he only started 58 games and when he gets hot and aggressive with his shots, the opposition's in trouble.

Gomez was once tabbed by GM Jestor as the best player in his class, but the Argentinian, taken 16th overall by the Celtics in 2009, didn't really get his shot until 2016, when he took over as a half-time starter for the Timberwolves for the second time and managed to keep it next year in training camp. Despite being just 6'9 and 217 lbs, he's managed to hold his own against the elite big men of the league, averaging 15.2 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1.4 steals this year and earning All-NBA honors the past two seasons. Like Drayton, the scouts hate him and he'd never start at the five for the size-loving Nuggets, but you can't deny his production or his career 55.1% shooting in the playoffs.

Advantage: Timberwolves

Bench

Carlton Goree is the straw that stirs Denver's reserve drink, averaging 9.1 points, 4.9 assists and 1.3 steals off the bench. A very good passer and shooter with deadly stealing skills and solid defense all around who could very well start for some teams in the league. Big (7'4, 267 lbs) 30 year old Winston Smith was the season's biggest surprise, a free-agent afterthought min-sal signing who came out of nowhere to average 5.8 points and 5.4 rebounds while playing tenacious defense. 25 year old Bulgarian Tzvetan Kishishev flourished in scoring after a deadline deal freed up more PT for him and he averaged 5.1 points while playing suffocating defense.

Sam Hamilton was Minnesota's top-scoring reserve with 5.8 points and Lavell Ledbetter is an excellent rebounder and absolutely nasty shotblocker, averaging 4.9 rebounds and a staggering 2.1 blocks off the bench. Unfortunately for the T-Wolves, they lack that explosive, go-to scorer off the bench that the Nuggets have, certainly in Goree and potentially in Kishishev as well. That's enough to tip the difference, though Minnesota's reserves are a very good defensive unit overall.

Advantage: Nuggets

Final Thoughts

The Timberwolves hold the advantage in the frontcourt, but their lack of bench firepower is going to be their undoing. Still, given Denver's road difficulties this season, we think the series will be longer than the apparent talent discrepancy suggests and so it'll be a full-limit series, home the saving grace of the Nuggets.
Prediction: Nuggets in 7

I can agree with that, though I'm obviously hoping we can close things out sooner than that.

Game One
This is what happens when the national press says Mateen Yeaton will continue his difficulties of last year and we could be out as soon as the second round, with a first-round upset possibility not a big surprise. He gets mad and goes out and rains 32 points on the Timberwolves. Paulinho Buboltz shoots fire right alongside him for 23 points and nobody can stop the amazing, overacheiving Winston Smith who scores 17 off the bench. He's been a sensational free agent find and we've got him under contract next year too. Bryan Young jacked up shot after shot for the Timberwolves and while his 21 points looks impressive at first blush, it came on 7 of 25 shooting or a miserable 28% conversion rate. Federico Gomez and Kelvin Moody double-doubled for 11 points and 14 rebounds and 19 points and 11 rebounds respectively and Sam Hamilton scored 10 to lead the reserves, but Minnesota gets its ass kicked up and down the court on both ends.
Final - Minnesota 85 Denver 110

Game Two
Mateen Yeaton continues his dazzling play with 30 points, David Jackson nets 11 points and 13 rebounds and Carlton Goree scores 13 off the bench, but foul trouble by Paulinho Buboltz and a horrendous shooting night by Tim Butler cause problems and an opening. Minnesota takes ready advantage, Major Drayton cutting through for 16 points and 11 assists, Kelvin Moody putting up 16 points and 14 rebounds and Federico Gomez adding 16 points and 12 rebounds. All five Timberwolves starters score either 16 or 18 points and it's enough to squeak out the 5 point upset. Ugh. I'm irate at this loss. We can't afford to lose at home in this series.
Final - Minnesota 100 Denver 95

Game Three
The Timberwolves and their fans are smelling blood and Federico Gomez strikes with 18 points and 13 rebounds, Bryan Young the lead scorer with 21 points. But just as in Game 1, those points come at the expense of wild, inaccurate shots in plenty. Tim Butler finally has a breakthrough game for us with 22 points. He's really struggled with the increased glare of the playoff light, but hopefully he'll adjust as he plays more games in his first postseason. David Jackson rampages for 20 points, Paulinho Buboltz gets in 14 points and 13 assists and Carlton Goree and Tzvetan Kishishev rally off the bench for 10 and 13 points respectively. The final score's an impressive margin of victory and with the dominating win, we issue a statement that we're not planning on an upset, or as awful a road record as everyone's predicting for us.
Final - Denver 111 Minnesota 93

Game Four
Kelvin Moody hasn't had the type of headline performance people expect out of him and Tim Butler's surprisingly effective job on him this series has frustrated him. That frustration goes away this game as he blows up for 31 points and 16 rebounds, Bryan Young batters us for 24 points on an authentically decent 10 for 18 outing and Major Drayton comes up with 17 points and 11 assists. The best we can do is 14 bench points from Tzvetan Kishishev. It's a perfect storm for a Wolf on Nugget reaming and we look like crap in an embarassing loss that once again evens the series.
Final - Denver 85 Minnesota 119

The only sweeps come in the West and fortunately, they're on the other side of the bracket as the Mavericks shrug off the Grizzlies with no problems and the Clippers validate their status as one of the conference's elite teams by pummeling the Jazz.

Game Five
No more home losses. That's going to be our theme the rest of the way. Mateen Yeaton and David Jackson take the message to heart with 28 and 21 points respectively, but a still angry Kelvin Moody has other ideas with 31 points and 13 rebounds. Federico Gomez piles on 18 points and 11 rebounds, Major Drayton contributes 11 points and 10 assists and Sam Hamilton pipes up with 14 bench points. The combined effort of the T-wolves results in a sickening 9 point loss and for the first time in my entire career, we're looking at a first round exit, down 3 games to 2.
Final: Minnesota 112 Denver 103

The Kings pull off a huge upset, stunning the Trailblazers in five games. Then again, I'm not sure how big a shocker I personally think that is. I mean, shit, when you've got Kenny Graham and Jonte Jones on the same team, it doesn't matter that they're in their 30s. That's still a scary 1-2 punch.

Game Six
And so here we are, just having to overcome our phobia of road games to even get a chance to advance. This season is fast heading to a trainwreck ending and I can practically see the pink slip already. Tim Butler scores 24, David Jackson muscles his way to 16 points and 11 rebounds and Carlton Goree scores 12 off the bench. But once Kelvin Moody gets untracked in a series, there's no stopping him. He has his third straight 30/10 game with 32 points and 13 rebounds and Bryan Young gets his garbage 20 points on 33% shooting. But we might have been able to overcome even that if Paulinho Buboltz hadn't picked the wrong night to go 1 for 8 and Deon Sterley hadn't looked exactly the rookie he is all series long, shooting a ghastly 34.1%. But they did and we go down in flames in the most embarassing playoff series of my tenure.
Final - Denver 86 Minnesota 95

But I guess it's a season for upsets, as the Nets unexpectedly oust the Knicks in six and everyone else goes to seven games.

Toronto barely escapes the 8 seed Wizards and the Bulls, determined to show their incredible regular season was no fluke, eliminate the pesky Magic. But it's an inspired Cavaliers squad that gets my admiration, sending home the higly favored 4 seed Bobcats.

I feel the sword hanging over my head already. This really irks me, because we've got a probable Top 3 pick the next two seasons and I feel like I could really build this team back up into a dynasty. I also want to be there for Mateen Yeaton's retirement and I want it to be in Denver.

But it's out of my hands now. It's all up to that anal douchebag owner Bob Neal, who I've had a somewhat contentious relationship the two seasons he's owned the team.
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Old 12-27-2008, 10:48 PM   #436
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
With the very real possibility of unemployment looming, I decide not to go vacationing outside the country like I usually do after a disappointing end to a season. If I'm forced to go back to the D-Leagues, I'm going to have to be careful with my money and reduce my lifestyle somewhat.

So I stay home and watch some exciting second round playoff basketball over the next week or so. Toronto looks sharp in dismantling the Cavaliers in five games, the Mavericks beat the Clippers in six and the veteran duo of Kenny Graham and Jonte Jones beats a valiant effort by Kelvin Moody to oust the Timberwolves in six as well. Chicago's forced to a second straight Game 7 and they once again get out of the upset trap, sending home the Nets after an excellent showing in Chitown.

The conference finals are intense, back and forth battles, each series going all seven games, but in the end, Toronto's playoff-tested, multi-championship team knocks the Bulls' lucky run out and not even the three headed trio of Kenny Graham, Justin Barnes and Jonte Jones can deliver a Game 7 miracle for the Kings.

So it's a repeat Finals, a trend that's been quite common in recent years, ever since Toronto and I started the whole thing with our epic rounds. The Raptors vs the defending champion Mavericks. Toronto gives themselves a better accounting than last season, but Marcelino Augusto will not be denied his second straight championship in a Mavericks uniform, his fourth ring in six seasons of play, and Dallas repeats in six games.

NBA Lottery

I don't know that I'll even have a job after this year, which makes our projected #2 pick all the more frustrating.

14. Milwaukee Bucks
13. Philadelphia 76ers
12. Boston Celtics
11. Atlanta Hawks
10. Detroit Pistons
9. Golden State Warriors
8. Los Angeles Lakers
7. Houston Rockets
6. Seattle Supersonics
5. San Antonio Spurs (-1)

For a moment there, I didn't think we were going to see any changeups in the lottery.

4. Denver Nuggets (-2)

Ouch. Now that hurts. Maybe it won't be such a bad thing if I get fired.

3. Indiana Pacers (+2)
2. Phoenix Suns (+1)
1. Miami Heat

Only two teams get hosed by the lottery and we're one of them. So much for the rich getting richer, eh? Of course, the last couple years, we haven't exactly been the rich, so, yeah. I'm not sure where I was going with that. Things have been pretty tense the last few weeks here, as you can imagine, with everyone on eggshells.

NBA Awards
MVP
Marcelino Augusto - Dallas Mavericks - 23.8 PPG 10.0 RPG 2.9 APG 2.5 BPG 1.0 SPG
Defensive Player of the Year
Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors - 14.2 PPG 15.5 RPG 2.5 APG 2.7 BPG 0.8 SPG
Rookie of the Year
John Walker - Boston Celtics - 10.7 PPG 6.5 RPG 1.9 APG 1.0 BPG 0.6 SPG
6th Man of the Year
Shannon Drayton - Chicago Bulls - 15.4 PPG 4.7 RPG 3.3 APG 0.9 BPG 1.2 SPG
Coach of the Year
Sam Mitchell - Toronto Raptors

Heh. Augusto's star is certainly ascendant. After the announcement of his MVP victory, our offices are flooded with angry letters and e-mails about how if I'd never traded away Marcelino, we'd still be winning championships. It does seem a lot longer than just two years since our third straight title; I have to give them that much.

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Corey Neal - New Jersey Nets
SG Justin Richler - Toronto Raptors
SF Devone Allen - Dallas Mavericks
PF Marcelino Augusto - Dallas Mavericks
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Kenny Graham - Sacramento Kings
SG Mateen Yeaton - Denver Nuggets
SF David Anyan - Toronto Raptors
PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Terrence Howard - Portland Trailblazers

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG Bernard Kelly - Memphis Grizzlies
SG Charles Seegars - Chicago Bulls
SF Buddy Bracey - Cleveland Cavaliers
PF Federico Gomez - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Narcyz Malinomowski - Memphis Grizzlies

Just how the hell Memphis managed to be a sub-.500 team with 2 All-NBA 3rd Teamers on their roster, I'll never know. I attribute that to bad coaching.

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Kueth Hill - Los Angeles Clippers
SG Walter Hicks - New Jersey Nets
SF Devone Allen - Dallas Mavericks
PF Marcelino Augusto - Dallas Mavericks
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Leland Peterson - Washington Wizards
SG Charles Seegars - Chicago Bulls
SF David Anyan - Toronto Raptors
PF Federico Gomez - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Dontay Williamson - Los Angeles Clippers

Heh. Talk about a Mavericks dynasty. Not only do they have two All-NBA 1st Teamers, but those same two guys are All-Defense 1st Teamers to boot. That trade is definitely going to live in infamy.

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG Tom Singletary - New Orleans Hornets
SG Teddy Harriman - New Orleans Hornets
SF Brad Randle - Phoenix Suns
PF John Walker - Boston Celtics
C Kevin Bradford - Indiana Pacers

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Andre Harper - Cleveland Cavaliers
SG Joem Layne - Denver Nuggets
SF Prokopios Vadeki - Seattle Supersonics
PF Mark Vlasto - Los Angeles Lakers
C Connor Augustus - New York Knicks

Layne was a pleasant surprise nomination to the Rookie second team, but it's a minor consolation prize.

Now comes the dreaded phone call.

Bob Neal rips into me, shouting that we underdelivered on the court and we spent more than the $10 million maximum over budget he authorized. I point out that I did what I could to reduce the wage bill and $13 million is only $3 million more than what he wanted.

He snorts at that and asks why in the world he should keep me on. His condescending attitude really pisses me off, so I tell him if he thinks he's so fucking great, he should be the GM.

Much to my amazement, he replies that he admires me for my balls and that he'll give me one more opportunity, but that's it..

I toss $50 on the table for supper, tell him to go to hell and walk out. Screw working for a nutjob, egotistical ass of an owner like that.

It isn't until I walk out the doors that I realize I just quit my job in the heat of the moment.

I look back in the restaurant and Bob's laughing, obviously expecting that it's some kind of a joke and I'll come back in, we'll share the laugh, have a drink and go back to talking about next season.

But you know what?

I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the bull he puts me through, the irate posts from angry fans who can't get over that Marcelino Augusto didn't want to play here when the Nuggets were Mateen's team.

I also just don't like Denver. Yes, the mountains are beautiful, but the city itself has never struck me as being so and I'm not a fan of cold and snow.

But on the other hand, I love Mateen and Timmy B and I really enjoy our coaching staff, especially Jim O'Brien, our head coach. Our fans, despite the anger they're showing about the Augusto trade again, are fantastic. They sell out our arena every year and bear with my constant reshuffling of the team.

It's a difficult choice. I'm 45 years old, which is still young for the profession, but on the other hand, I'm still single and I'm wanting year-round warmth, the sun, a beautiful young woman and at least one child before I die. These aren't things I'll have in Denver.

And it's the quality of my own personal life issue that has me marching back in the restaurant, staring Bob down and saying frostily, "I meant everything I said. You're an asshole to work for and the fans are going to hate you when you ruin this team. Fuck you, kiss my ass and goodbye. You'll have my formal resignation in the mail tomorrow. Go ahead and call it a firing if you want."

I don't even wait for his answer. I just turn around and walk right back out, feeling freer than I have a long time.

Bob's ego won't allow for me to resign of course, so the papers play it up as a firing and the nation goes into heated debate over whether or not it was the right move for the Nuggets owner to make.

As for me, I don't care. I even take some of the money I have put away to go visit some friends in Jamaica and just relax for a few weeks and get away from it all.

Unfortunately, the only jobs open are in the D-League. Mateen Yeaton, when he finds out the news and the current employment situation, launches a massive drive to get me re-hired by the Nuggets. The rest of the players, the coaching staff and the fans rally around the cause, which dominates the sports pages and supersedes baseball for a good week and a half.

At first, Bob Neal stands firm on his decision, but when the organization starts getting swamped with season ticket cancellations in protest and Mateen demands to be traded or he'll refuse to report if I'm not hired, his love of money makes him listen.

In the end, the overwhelming pressure makes him cave and he calls me, asking me to please come back. I'm still given a one-season leash, but it's something I can work with and so I accept.

When we meet next to discuss the season, I lay it out on the table for him. I'll meet his demands to keep us under $10 million over the cap, but in return, the most I can guarantee is a playoff appearance, which the greedy bastard is fine with.

Patrick Ewing refuses to re-up with us because of the instability of our situation right now and he accepts the security of a 5 year deal for much less money with the perpetually rebuilding Hornets. We sign Phil Weber as a stopgap 1st assistant.

Eric Snow finally gets the head coaching gig he's deserved for so damned long, getting a 5 year deal worth just over a million a year from the Rockets. Great steal by Houston there, especially since Snow should've had an opportunity before he turned 50.

Mock Draft

We're projected to take 20 year old SF Eric Hooper from Syracuse, who has some interesting skills and intrigues me, but I'm honestly initally much more attracted to SG Wendel King, a 21 year old out of UCLA. It's not a superb class by any means, with no prospects considered 5* players. The best is probably Bulgarian SG Georgi Dimov. And then there's the guy they call the second coming of Mateen Yeaton, 6'8, 188 lbs SG Justin Cherry, an senior from Mateen's alma mater of Indiana. It's that conection that has the mocks saying we'll take him with the 29th pick.

And they're right. If he's there, I don't care how bad his scouting report is, he'll be wearing a Nuggets uniform. There's no way he's going to last that long, though. I see him as more of a late lottery pick in this class, possibly even a Top 10 pick, depending on how his workouts look.

We still need to cut salary though and so I pump the phones, searching for the right deal. The Bulls refuse to give up Andre Moore for anything, so I dig around and eventually come up with a deal that clears salary and gives us an interesting new makeup.

Denver Nuggets receive
SF Jeremy Leach
C Andrew Bynum
SF Jason Tackett
PG Aaron Brennan

New York Knicks receive
PG Paulinho Buboltz
C Winston Smith
PF Jonathan Hill
SG Darren Hare

What this means for the Nuggets
Brennan is extremely raw, but the 21 year old has the kind of potential and game as a passer, shooter and ball-thief that could make him the next great GM Jestor PG find, as he projects as the starter after this deal. Bynum may be 37, but he's still good enough that he'll produce solid game and challenge for the Nuggets' starting C spot, if not win it outright. The front office became a little wary of Deon Sterley after the rookie bombed in the shocking opening round loss to the Jazz last year, so Leach, a much more capable and proven offensive player, will step in as the new starting small forward, even if he's short at 6'5, 230 lbs. Tackett's a lockdown defender and team chemistry guy thrown in to make salaries work.

What this means for the Knicks
Jonathan Willias is a better passer and has been the Knicks' starting PG since halfway through his rookie season (6th overall, 2009), but he's only averaged more than 12 points a game once in his career and is a classic underachiever. Buboltz is three years younger and even with the Nuggets, who emphasize passing out of their point guards, he still averaged 16.3 points a game, along with 10.2 assists. He's also a superior defender to Willias in every way. Smith was the highlight surprise in Denver last year, a big man who showed newfound scoring touch and rebounding aggressiveness to go with his lockdown defense. Hill has upside as an all-around defensive presence and shot an impressive 60.9% with the Colorado Timberjacks last year as an every game starter. Hare showed glimmers of filling as a role scorer last season, but not much else.

Winner: Denver
The Nuggets wanted Andre Moore from Chicago, but Brennan is an excellent consolation prize and Bynum will stabilize the post and move David Jackson to a much more effective role as a 6th man. Deon Sterley also now becomes a possible bargaining chip, as Jestor is notorious for little patience with unclutch players, especially those that cost the team a playof series like Sterley did. More importantly, the deal slashes $4 million and change from Denver's payroll. Nuggets owner Bob Neal announced after Jestor's initial firing and before his re-hiring that the team would no longer pay large salaries for the kind of results they got in last year's opening round loss. Given Paulinho Buboltz's inconsistency and his $18.7 million salary, the largest on the team, his departure became almost inevitable. The beautiful thing is, Jestor manages to not only shed payroll, but he improves the team's starting lineup, injecting enough more talent that they could very well see a deeper playoff run next year without adding any more players.

Buboltz dramatically bolsters the Knicks at the PG spot, but the rest of the players in this deal are role men at best and New York must now try and replace two starters. Tim Duncan, who left for the New Jersey Nets a few years ago, is seeing all his hard work come undone. Little surprise that the Knicks appear to be starting to decline after reviving on Duncan's watch, while the Nets turned in an impressive playoff run this past season, their first in years. They gave up too much to get Buboltz.

I'm thrilled to steal Brennan from the Knicks. Bynum and Leach come up with some semi-ugly contracts, but I need to build this team to both be under budget and exceed expectations -this- season or none of it's going to matter.

I pick up Brennan's fourth year and Joem Layne's third season the same day I make the trade, just to give us some more security in terms of bodies for the season following this upcoming one. I'm happy with what I managed to get for Buboltz. Trying to unload a 5'11, somewhat inconsistent 31 year old PG with an obscene contract is -not- an easy task.

The fans are somewhat upset about the Buboltz deal, because Buboltz and Yeaton were a very popular backcourt, but my reputation for finding underrated point guards is legendary, so they're willing to take a wait and see approach with Brennan.

Now comes our chance to add another piece of the puzzle in the draft. The class is weak and has been mighty poor the last few seasons, but hopefully one of the guys we're eying will drop to us at #4. If not, then we're probably either make a reach or trade down or... who knows what we'll do?

All I know is, I'm now fighting to keep my career in Denver afloat and prove to the rest of the NBA that I never should have been chewed out by our asshat owner in the first place.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:27 AM   #437
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
We've got our very short list drawn up as the draft starts and it's just a matter of if the player we're hoping to get falls to us.

2023 NBA Draft 1st Round
1. SG Georgi Dimov - Miami Heat
2. PF Michael Woods - Phoenix Suns

I'm sorely tempted to move up to the #3 spot, because I'm afraid the guy I want will be taken here. Happily, the Pacers are willing to accomodate us, flip-flopping picks for the Suns' 2nd round pick a couple years from now.

3. SG Wendel King - Denver Nuggets

The pick receives a lukewarm reception, but I'm convinced this is the right move and Chris points out that despite my draft gaffes in the past, I seem to know what I'm doing when I aggressively trade up for players in weak draft classes like this one. I'll have to send him a thank you card for that.

4. SG Utkan Torumtay - Indiana Pacers
5. SF Eric Hooper - San Antonio Spurs
6. C Scott Costello - Seattle Supersonics

Costello is the guy I probably would've taken if I hadn't moved up to draft King. Nice value pick by Seattle here, in my opinion, as they continue their lovefest of centers named Scott.

7. PF Ryan Bush - Houston Rockets
8. PG Scott Miles - Los Angeles Lakers

Miles was the top-rated PG, but he screams 2 guard to me. Not the type of player I like in my system at all.

9. PF Jeff Emanuel - Golden State Warriors
10. PG Jerry Floyd - Detroit Pistons
11. PG Curtis King - Atlanta Hawks
12. C Phillip Smith - Boston Celtics
13. SF James White - Philadelphia 76ers
14. SF Jarod Jones - Milwaukee Bucks
15. PF Ian McClinton - Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies net a beautiful steal selection here. McClinton is definitely a Top 10 player in this class, so for him to fall to 15 is a real surprise.

16. SG Aubrey Prato - Chicago Bulls
17. PF Todd Humphries - Orlando Magic
18. SG Ryan Seals - Sacramento Kings
19. PG Chris Blackmon - Minnesota Timberwolves
20. PF Marcus Givens - Utah Jazz
21. SG Darryl Thompkins - New Jersey Nets
22. SG Justin Cherry - Cleveland Cavaliers

He had a horrible pre-draft workout, to be honest, which is why I didn't try and move up to get him. I try and work out a deal with the Cavs to try and get him anyway, but Cleveland's not interested.

23. C Shane Hampton - Charlotte Bobcats
24. PF Brian Madsen - Los Angeles Clippers
25. SF Chris Cunningham - New York Knicks
26. PF Chris Rein - Portland Trailblazers
27. C Marcus Amaya - Golden State Warriors
28. PG Jair Kittles - Chicago Bulls

There's not much to choose from at this point. And point is what the experts are saying we'll pick, namely Tarrell Block, a senior out of Duke who appears to have the best passing skills left. Not quite fellow Blue Devil alum Carlton Goree territory by any means. But after looking over the available players, it comes down to Block vs. a center, Terrance Frey out of Oklahoma. Frey has finesse C writ on him and you know how much I hate those guys, so it becomes an easy choice.

29. PG Tarrell Block - Denver Nuggets

J.P. falls all over himself congratulating himself on his fantastic prediction skills, whereas Chris is lukewarm on the selection. Block's got mad disruption skills on defense, though, which I love.

30. SG Eugene Kohler - Sacramento Kings

The post-draft first look says King wasn't worthy of a top 3 pick and Block isn't as sexy as we'd hoped for. We've also got some cap problems waiting for us, so I may have to make another move.

Summer League

Summer Nuggets
PG Aaron Brennan
PG Tarrell Block
SG Darren Davis
SG Joem Layne
SG Wendel King
PF Deon Sterley

A glut of young guards, some of whom may not be here by the start of the new season.

A defensive struggle results in an 88-83 win over the Mavericks. Joem Layne explodes off the bench for 17 points and Tarrell Block and Darren Davis each score 10 points as our reserves own everybody. This is an important summer for all these youthful guards, because they're auditioning for the right to stay on the team.

The offense opens up, but our defense falls in a 100-97 loss to Golden State. Joem Layne, who's actually my favorite of this young group, is our lone highlight with 16 bench points and he's fast earning himself a spot.

Aaron Brennan breaks loose for 23 points and we top the Hawks 100-91. Thus far, Aaron's looked decent in the three games, though not spectacular till now. On the whole, though, I'm inclined to say he'll make the team.

Our best game of the summer comes in a 92-69 stomping of the Bulls. Clifton Snyder, who've I always admired, scores 23 and Joem Layne scores 12 off the bench.

We close out with a 111-88 thrashing of the Celtics, keyed by Clifton Snyder's 26 points, Joem Layne's 18 bench points and 12 points from reserve Darren Davis.

After looking over the summer league results, I'm just not impressed with Wendel King at all. He's not worth the money he's going to be getting as a Top 3 pick and worse yet, Jim O'Brien is talking about making him the PG. So it's a quick deal to squash that.

Denver Nuggets receive
SG Justin Cherry
SG Robert Lawson

Cleveland Cavaliers receive
SG Wendel King

What this means for the Nuggets
This deal is a King for Cherry swap, as Lawson was cut immediately after. It's well-known that GM Jestor wanted the Hoosier late in the draft, but the Cavaliers snapped him up beforehand. Reports of Cherry's bad personality appear to have been unfounded and he has good scoring touch, passable handling, is a slightly better defender than King and a smarter player. This also sets up the possibility of Mateen Yeaton as the starting PG, Cherry as the starting SG.

What this means for the Cavaliers
King's a better scorer and ballhandler than Cherry, but by and large, the differences between the two appear to be neglible. The biggest difference that we see at this point is that King is almost three times the salary of Cherry.

Winner: Denver
Some say it's stupid to trade the rights of the 3rd overall pick for those of the 22nd overall pick, but this draft class was weak enough to where the talent difference isn't that great. The Nuggets needed to slash salary in a big way and this helps them do that. Maybe one of these days Jestor will draft a top pick he likes and keeps.

But by no means are we done here with our trading, as there's still lots of log jams to clear out and there's two players I'd really like to re-sign if at all possible.

Denver Nuggets receive
SF Jermaine Trask

Memphis Grizzlies receive
PF Deon Sterley

What this means for the Nuggets
Sterley played his way into the doghouse with an abysmal playoff performance and with Tim Butler Denver's PF until he retires, GM Jestor went hunting for another young SF. Thus, we have Trask, a hard-working, raw second year player taken 5th overall last season. He shot 50% in 3 starts for the Grizzlies in the playoffs, his first action at the NBA level after being an emergency injury callup. That toughness greatly impressed Jestor, as did his potential to be a scoring beast and a defensive demon. He's more polished on the defensive end than Sterley and has the potential to develop good enough hands to play every position but SG. That kind of versatility is extremely valuable, along with his comfort level at shooting literally anywhere from the floor.

What this means for the Grizzlies
Memphis is set at the forward spots with youngsters Shane Holliway and Ronnie Fry, but Sterley, at 6'9, 250 lbs, has the build and rebounding talent to be the heir apparent, if greatly undersized, to [b]Narcyz Malinomowski, who isn't getting any younger at 33 years old. Sterley also gives the Grizzlies a monster defensive presence off the bench, with the potential to only get better.

Winner: Draw
This is one of those deals that benefits both teams. The Nuggets get a true, versatile 3 in Trask who has just as much upside as Sterley, while the Grizzlies get a promising player to fill in at C when the Great Polish Sieve hangs it up. Both these guys bust their butts to improve themselves, so the intangibles should work out as well. Also, Jeremy Leach, whose short height renders him better suited to the 2, now gets to move to SG.

We're currently $19.5 million over the cap, but $8.5 million of that is money tied up in Tzvetan Kishishev and Carlton Goree, whose rights we've retained and who we're hoping to bring back at a reduced price. That still means we need to reduce salary, but we'll find a way to do it.

Denver Nuggets receive
SF Calvis Hayes
Los Angeles Lakers 2025 2nd round pick
Los Angeles Lakers 2026 2nd round pick

Los Angeles Lakers receive
PG Jeremy Steele
PG Jameel Williams
PG Tarrell Block

What this means for the Nuggets
This trade is all about the salary dump. $2.76 million comes off the books, $0.61 million comes back. Denver's hoping to return Carlton Goree and Tzvetan Kishishev while getting under a rumored $10 million over the cap. That said, Hayes has potential to be a good all-around bench player, if somewhat weak in terms of passing and ballhandling. He also shot just 25% last year in his rookie season, but that was in just 9 games of mopup duty.

What this means for the Lakers
Very strange trade for the Purple and Gold, who sacrifice $2.1 million in their freed up cap space for 3 PGs when they already have Calvis Graham and rookie Scott Miles on the roster. That said, with Williams and Steele, they'll have a ton of capable floor generals on the bench and Steele can help mentor Miles along with Graham.

Winner: Incomplete
If Denver does return Goree, they win this one hands down. If not, they've just traded away all their offense-running capable guards away for nothing. On the other hand, this deal doesn't make much sense for the Lakers, either.

$17.3 million over the cap now but I'm worried about our passing situation. I may have to flip one of our newer acquistions from the Buboltz trade to convince Jim O'Brien to start a true PG, rather than the unnerving scheme to put Mateen Yeaton at the point.

Free Agency
Absolutely star-studded free agent class this year. Look at these names and weep.

Big Board
Marcelino Augusto
Nigel Abel
Kueth Hill
Kevin Durant
Charles Seegars
Keith Attaway
John Aylsworth
Branko Starcevic
Lebron James (He's still got it, even at 39)
Pete Totten
Oliwjer Rosiak
Corey Westbrooks
Carmelo Anthony (Also 39, here only because of name recognition)
Greg Oden

That is one filthy free agent class and it's a shame we're hamstrung by our budget, because I'd love to get my hands on some of these guys.

Our cap number plummets to $13.7 million when Tzvetan Kishishev re-signs with for 6 years, $5.8 million to mark the first free agency signing for anyone. I couldn't be more thrilled to lock him up so cheap, but he's being pushed way down the depth chart, so I'm going to have to trade someone to free up more playing time for him. You don't cockblock a guy who's a career 57.1% shooter, 60.2% in the playoffs.

Marcelino Augusto re-signs with Dallas on a maxed out deal, to no one's surprise, but there's still a ton of dynamite free agents out there, including some point guards who are tempting me enough that I'm -this- close to throwing an exemption at somebody and sorting the cap mess out via trade.

Nolan Hill, one of the guys I thought about bringing back, got a 4 year, $27.8 million deal from Golden State and chose to stay with the Warriors. It just goes to show what happens when a PG gets elevated thanks to me. Other teams want him and he gets set for life.

Victor Gipson jumps to the Bobcats for 4 years, $18.8 million. Great deal for him as he goes back to a winning team where he can really make an impact and truth be told, I'm glad to see him switch conferences to the East.

Pride and stupidity kick in and when I see the Dallas Mavericks have made an offer to Zelipe Gama, whose greatly reduced his asking price, I pursue him with a mid-level exemption. Sadly, I can't match the the 3 years, $20 million Dallas tosses his way to maintain him.

Dismay reigns in Cleveland when John Aylsworth betrays the Cavaliers by signing with the rival Bulls on a mid-level exemption. Chicago's looking really good this year and appear to have sorted out the chaotic chemistry mess that plagued them for so many years despite their talent level. Of course, their payroll is ridiculous... to the tune of $64.1 million in excess after that little deal.

Then Carlton Goree turns around and does the same thing, rejecting us for a one year, $5.5 million deal from the Utah Jazz. Ugh. He followed the damn money. Not that I can blame him, I suppose, but it's still frustrating.

Our desparation for a legitimate backup PG leads us to sign Darrell James to a two year min-sal deal. He never has lived up to the heady play of his first two seasons, but he's still a reliable veteran to have around on the bench.

One more exchange to make to bring us under $10 million and the best deal involves those devils in Dallas.

Denver Nuggets receive
PG Zelipe Gama
PG Ron Morant
Dallas Mavericks 2026 1st round pick

Dallas Mavericks receive
SF Jeremy Leach
SF Calvis Hayes
Denver Nuggets 2026 2nd round pick
Los Angeles Lakers 2026 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
GM Jestor's favorite Spainard returns to the Nuggets and although he's 32 years old, Gama still has the same steady, confident game he developed in his first tour of duty in Denver. Not a flashy player, but a steady one and an excellent floor general. He'll slide back into his old starting PG spot, relieving the crisis that erupted in Denver. Mateen Yeaton returns to the 2 spot, with David Jackson or Jeramine Trask the three. Morant is one of those rare 2nd round picks (36th overall, Dallas, 2021 draft), that has made it in the league and he's got good defensive skills and the type of passing and ballhandling ability that make him the perfect reserve guard. If he can develop his scoring instincts more, he'll be a real gem for Denver. The 1st round pick is a probable #30.

What this means for the Mavericks
Leach is another deadly shooter on a team that already has Marcelino Augusto, Devone Allen and Charles Arnold. Dallas's solution? Start Leach at the point. It's completely unorthodox, but the Mavericks don't care. They're convinced they'll find a way to win their third straight title, matching the feat most recently achieved by the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets the last six seasons previous to Dallas's two straight titles. As head coach Avery Johnson says, "So what if we can't pass all that well? We'll just outshoot them."

Winner: Draw
The trade comes with potential drawbacks for each team. Denver just lost a surehanded sharpshooter, meaning they'll have to rely on a 35 year old Yeaton and Tim Butler for their offense and there's no guarantee the Gama/Yeaton backcourt will be able to replicate its old magic. Then again, the Nuggets are only rumored to only be shooting for the playoffs this season. On the flip side, the Mavericks might now have too many shooters to satisfy and the balance of their chemistry and offense may be ruined without a true PG.

Whatever. I'm happy with the move and so is Bob Neal, who happily notes we're just $9.6 million over the cap with 14 players signed.

Training Camp
Nice camp by Ron Morant, even better than that of Aaron Brennan, actually. Darren Davis has a decent camp, but Justin Cherry is a major disappointment. Jermaine Trask has an incredible training camp and he really forced David Jackson to earn his starting spot this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see Trask take over at some point during the season. Tzvetan Kishishev also looks really good and impresses. Mateen Yeaton really appeared a step slower in camp and I'm worried for how he'll do this season.

Overall though, I'm quite pleased with how things went.

The preseason magazines are very unflattering, ranking us 12th in the conference and only ahead of the Timberwolves in the division. The Clippers are the favorites, which I can definitely see, though the Rockets at #2 is an extremely iffy pick. Dallas is tabbed #3 because of concerns about their PG situation, while the Warriors are a fascinating #4 pick as they finally look poised to break their playoff drought. Then again, they've appeared that way for several years now and haven't. Carlton Goree is a big part of why Utah's the favorites in the Northwest, but I tend to think it's going to be the Trailblazers this year. I also don't get the preseason scribes picking the Hornets to finally reach the playoffs this season. Um, no. Not even close to the talent needed to make the postseason, especially not with that crappy a backcourt.

Chicago's the favorites in the East, but the magazines are deranged if they think the Pacers are a #2 seed. Ryan Sweetwyne as the starting C makes the Wizards as #3 a joke. In all truth, Toronto, who's going with an ageless Utah Sixer Brandon Brooks as the starting PG, should be the favorites, followed by either the Bulls or the fast-rising Nets, who are #5. The Knicks are rated #6 because of concerns about their bench, which is fair.

2023 Denver Nuggets Opening Night Lineup
PG Zelipe Gama
SG Mateen Yeaton
SF David Jackson
PF Tim Butler
C Andrew Bynum
6th Jermaine Trask (PG/SF/PF/C)
7th Aaron Brennan (PG)
8th Ron Morant (PG/SG)
9th Tzvetan Kishishev (SF/PF/C)
10th Darrell James (PG/SG)
11th Jason Tackett (PG/SG/SF)
12th Darren Davis (PG/SG/SF)

D-League
Joem Layne (Starting SF)
Justin Cherry (Starting SG)

...Yeah. Bynum should -not- be the starting C. He's 37 years old and his skills have quit on him. It should be Trask at the 3, Jackson at the 5, but what can you do? Jim O'Brien is convinced Bynum's still got it.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:41 PM   #438
Barkeep49
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not too far away
So did you really get fired and rehired or was that just RP? I have to say that seeing your talents wasted on this POS owner is disappointing. As a long time fan I expect to contend for the championship not get knocked out in the first round. I wish Denver had an owner worthy of the fans and its GM.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:21 PM   #439
Coffee Warlord
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Colorado Springs
I still find it hilarious your uncanny knack for bringing old players back.
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:45 PM   #440
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Barkeep49: Mostly RP. The exchange of my telling him to do the job himself occurred in-game and I somehow got to keep my job with 0 security. I'd never seen that before, so I thought maybe it was a glitch, because there was no "Do you want to stay on?" question so I did it again and this time quit because I got offered the chance to stay on, with no "Why should I keep you?" question. There were no NBA GM offers and that really depressed me because Mateen Yeaton could retire at any point, so I did it a third time and this time got the same "Why should I keep you?" with my same response and the 0 security and kept job got duplicated. To simulate what happened, I created that roleplayed scenario.

And thanks for the vote of confidence. I really hate this owner, but what can you do? That said, I'm proud of the team I've managed to cobble together under those hideous financial constraints and it's going to be interesting seeing how it plays out. I wish the draft classes didn't keep sucking during this run of lottery selections we've had, though.

Coffee Warlord: What can I say? I develop favorites for players and Gama happens to be one of them. I actually tried prying Andre Moore from the Bulls again without success and there were a few other high-quality, youngerish PGs I tried to get, but even when I was willing to part with Aaron Brennan to make the deal, none of the teams would budge.

It probably works out better this way, though. I get Gama back and I get to keep Brennan and create competition for him in Morant, who I think can be another Carlton Goree type if he can get his scoring instincts up.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:20 PM   #441
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
You know, it's funny. We've got some new pieces in place, but Gama isn't really a new PG and 50 Ninja's been a starter at the 3 before. That said, it's very hard to predict what this Nuggets team is going to do, but it should be fun to watch.

Mateen Yeaton doesn't look old at all in scoring 29 points against the Lakers, but the real eye-opener in our 110-80 pounding of the Purple and Gold is Andrew Bynum stunning the Staples Center crowd with 22 points. Zelipe Gama fits seamlessly back into our offense with 13 points and 11 assists.

Two games into the year and Jim O'Brien messes with the lineup, flip-flopping David Jackson and Andrew Bynum to disastrous results as the Timberwolves beat us 90-75. Mateen Yeaton scores 25 and Tim Butler nabs 13 points and 15 rebounds, but that's all we can muster. Then again, Minnesota actually has a legitimate PG for the first time since I've been in the league, as I forgot to mention they stole Branko Starcevic in free agency.

David Jackson doubles for 18 points and 10 rebounds, Andrew Bynum scores 21 and Jermaine Trask has our first noteworthy bench showing of the year with 11 points, but we still lose 112-103 to Utah and Halloween's happiness seems a long way off.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Tim Butler breaks his arm and is out for over two months, 66 days to be exact. While Jermaine Trask is the new starting PF and will get much-needed development time, our offense is looking very shaky right now.

And yet, we pull out a sweep in our first back-to-back of the year. The revenge match against the Jazz results in a 98-84 win on Zelipe Gama's 23 points and 12 assists, David Jackson's 21 points and 13 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton's 24 points. Those same three players highlight our 110-103 win over Seattle as David Jackson just misses a triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists, Mateen Yeaton leads all scorers with 30 points and Zelipe Gama adds 20 points of his own.

Mateen Yeaton singlehandedly carries us in a 101-74 pulverizing of the Pistons, putting up 36 points and 9 rebounds. Can you believe he's 35 years old? Because I sure can't.

Our win streak continues with a 101-87 victory in Sacramento. We're keyed by 22 points from Mateen Yeaton, Zelipe Gama's 15 points and 16 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev snapping out of his quiet early season for 16 points off the bench.

I'm absolutely floored when we total Toronto 111-81 and hold Justin Richler to 8 points on a 3 for 16 night. Mateen Yeaton is looking 25, not 35, as he scores 37 and Tzvetan Kishishev carries the reserves with 10 points.

Chicago ends our insane form in a heartbreaking 96-93 loss, as Mateen Yeaton's 30 points are undone by Jason Tackett going 0 for 10 off the bench. Still, we've been incredibly dominant since Tim Butler went down and it's going to be interesting seeing what happens a couple months from now.

The marquee matchup against the Mavericks is our best effort of the year as we shoot 62.5% and every starter scores at least 16 points. Leading the charge are Zelipe Gama, torching Dallas for 26 points and 16 assists and David Jackson, who scores 25 and is off to his best start ever.

Jim O'Brien throws a curveball before the next game, starting Andrew Bynum at C, David Jackson at PF and Jermaine Trask at SF. The move pays off perfectly as Bynum blows up for 28 points and 13 rebounds in our 108-92 dispatching of the Nets. Ron Morant and Jason Tackett pace the bench with 15 and 11 points respectively.

Our second doubleheader of the year is another pair of wins. Andrew Bynum shifts back to SF and scores 22 points as we squelch San Antonio 112-84, Mateen Yeaton (21 points) and Tzvetan Kishishev (14 reserve points) the other highlights. The next night's 111-90 reaming of the Rockets is powered by David Jackson's 23 points and 11 rebounds at C, Jermaine Trask's 12 points and 11 rebounds at PF, 22 points from Zelipe Gama and Tzvetan Kishishev's 12 points to top the second unit.

107-83 is the final of our victory over the eternally hapless Hornets, Andrew Bynum running roughshod for 25 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks, Mateen Yeaton the game's primary scorer with 26 points.

Our sterling first month concludes with a stellar 124-97 outing against the Cavaliers. Mateen Yeaton has a field evening with 37 points, David Jackson double-doubles for 13 points and 10 rebounds, Zelipe Gama nets 18 points and 15 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev scores 14 off the bench.

It's early yet, but our 12-3 record gives us the West's best record. Dallas is comparatively struggling at 10-7 and are half a game behind the Grizzlies. Golden State does appear to be having the breakout year at last at 10-4, while the Hornets are still terrible at 2-12.

Chicago repeats last year's 11-1 first month record, while the Raptors are 13-4 and the Bobcats are 11-2. Miami, whose first round pick we hold, is a disconcerting 6-10. The Heat might actually be competitive this year, which of course means next year's draft class is going to have a truly awesome blue-chip player we'll miss out on.

But I'm not complaining at all. We're off to the kind of start I never would have imagined for us, especially not when Timmy B went down.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:32 PM   #442
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Indiana Pacers receive
PG Pete Bannister

Philadelphia 76ers receive
PF Lance Purnell
Indiana Pacers 2024 2nd round pick

What this means for the Pacers
The 28 year old Bannister, taken 15th overall by the 76ers in the 2015 draft, is one of those players who's very solid all-around, with no real weaknesses but no true strengths either. A great reserve/borderline starter type, he's grossly overpaid at $10 million this year, $11 million the next.

What this means for the 76ers
Purnell can score some and has decent ballhandling skills for a big man, but he's a defensive sieve and is notorious for his laziness. His other talents are mediocre at best as well, though he does represent a reduced salary by $2 million this year, $2.5 million the next for Philadelphia.

Winner: Indiana
The salary difference isn't enough to trump the fact that Bannister improves the Pacers whereas Purnell is going to weaken a Philadelphia team as the 6th man, taking them from a possible playoff team to a lottery participant.

With just one trade, it's the quietest month we've had in at least three or four seasons. My guess is things'll pick up in the next month or so, but you never know.

We do our draft position a favor by muting the Heat 101-86 via Mateen Yeaton's 24 points, Zelipe Gama's 11 points and 10 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev's 11 bench points.

The Magic have no power as we dispel them 112-81. Just two Orlando players reach double-digit scoring and that won't work when Mateen Yeaton's scoring 28, Zelipe Gama's inversing his last game's performance with 10 points and 11 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev is tearing things up with a 13 for 16 night for 27 points off the bench. I still can't believe we've got him on a min-sal deal for the next several seasons. He's the single greatest value on our roster right now.

Mateen Yeaton continues to laugh in Time's face with 28 points and 12 rebounds as we roll up the Wizards 109-86. David Jackson is his sidekick with 15 points and 14 rebounds and I'm thrilled with the production we've been getting out of both players, especially 50 Ninja.

The Raptors haven't forgotten the early-season buttkicking we gave them in Denver, so they turn it around by shredding us 116-84 in Toronto to stop our win streak. Mateen Yeaton piles on 28 points and Zelipe Gama double-doubles for 10 points and 12 assists, but that's all we can muster against an inspired Raptors D.

So that puts us at 1-1 on the annual December road trek and we drop to 1-2 by losing to the Knicks 98-87 despite Jermaine Trask's sudden 23 point outburst and 10 and 11 points a piece from reserves Jason Tackett and Tzvetan Kishishev.

Philadelphia shows us brotherly love on the front end of a doubleheader by losing 117-104 to us and Mateen Yeaton takes advantage of the hospitality to score 34 points. Zelipe Gama garners 21 points and 13 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev continues his strong season with 15 bench points. But the Celtics go on a second half tear to come back and beat us 111-101 the next night in Boston to put us at 2-3 despite 26 points from Mateen Yeaton, 19 points and 12 assists from Zelipe Gama and Tzvetan Kishishev's 11 bench points.

Our last hope for a winning record on the road stretch lies in Florida and the Heat and Magic oblige by bowing to us on back to back nights. Zelipe Gama and Mateen Yeaton conspire to score 26 and 21 points in our 102-79 victory over Miami, Andrew Bynum puts up 15 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks from the starting C spot and Darrell James surprises with 11 points off the bench. Our 103-93 win against Orlando is engineered by Mateen Yeaton's 32 points, Zelipe Gama's 19 points and 14 assists and Andrew Bynum's 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Phoenix can't compete with the combined efforts of Mateen Yeaton (29 points), Zelipe Gama (15 points, 21 assists), Andrew Bynum (22 points) and Tzvetan Kishishev (14 bench points) and so they fall 112-98 in Denver.

The spectre of last season's road woes rises up in the next game, though, as we lose 106-95 to the pathetic Supersonics in Seattle. We struggled to get anything going all night and Tzvetan Kishishev's 11 bench points were our lone, ugly highlight.

But everything's made right and Christmas feels right by sweeping the holiday doubleheader. In our most exciting, white-knuckle game of the year to date, we beat Dallas 108-106 on a buzzer-beater by Mateen Yeaton, who finished with 31 points. Zelipe Gama issues 12 points and 11 assists and Joem Layne scores 12 off the bench. Christmas Day in Oakland gives the present of a wild, zany shootout that sees us prevail 141-134 in OT, Mateen Yeaton the hero with a sensational 46 point game at 35 years old. Andrew Bynum crashes the glass for 14 points and 18 rebounds, Zelipe Gama reels in 15 points and 15 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev and Darrell James rally the reserves with 15 and 14 points a piece.

The injury bug strikes again during the Golden State game as Joem Layne breaks his elbow and is out for two months. So we're forced to call up rookie Justin Cherry after having recalled Layne following Tim Butler's injury. 15 days until Timmy B gets back and I'm not sure how his return is going to affect the balance we've got going. Jermaine Trask's versatility and defensive prowess have been a godsend and he's probably the odd man out when Timmy comes back.

Justin Cherry makes an immediate impact in his first game, scoring 15 points off the bench to help carry us to a 101-98 victory over Philadelphia that needed a fourth quarter comeback to do it. Mateen Yeaton scores 21 and David Jackson double-doubles at the three for 12 points and 11 rebounds, his scoring total the lowest of our five starters.

We draw the two LA teams for the New Year and Justin Cherry puts on a jaw-dropping 29 point performance, including 6 of 10 from 3 point range as we fight past the Lakers 111-104 in Los Angeles. Mateen Yeaton scores 21 for the second game in a row, Jermaine Trask gathers in 10 points and 11 rebounds and Darrell James adds an unsung 12 points off the bench. Mateen Yeaton steals the spotlight back the next night with 42 points in our 105-96 victory over the Clippers, leaving in the dust good showings by Andrew Bynum (12 points, 13 rebounds), Zelipe Gama (11 points, 13 assists) and Justin Cherry (15 bench points).

Our storybook season now stands at 24-7, four games ahead of Portland in the Northwest. The Mavericks have reasserted themselves as the best team in the Southwest at 18-12, 4.5 in front of the Grizzlies, while the Pacific, after enduring years of being one of the worst divisions in the NBA, now has all but one team at .+500. The bad team? The 7-21 Lakers. Sacramento lead the division at 20-8, a mere game and a half over Golden State, as the Warriors do appear to finally be legitimate.

Last year, the Bulls collapses in the second month. This season, they've stayed on fire and are a white-hot 24-4, the league's best record and a full 10 games ahead of the .500 Cavaliers in the Central. Toronto's 22-10, enjoying a four game lead on the Knicks, while the Bobcats are the ones to pick up Chicago's second month bug, falling to 19-9 and 1.5 game edge over the surging Magic.

But to me, the real story of this month has been Justin Cherry's first three games in the NBA. Coming off the bench, he's averaging 19.7 points a game. I know, small sample size, but it's still incredible. He's really living up to the Second Coming of Mateen billing and he's unquestionably going to spend the rest of the season with the Nuggets. He also just might be our future at SG if he can keep it up.

Speaking of Mateen Yeaton...

Paulinho Buboltz
2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.6 PPG 8.1 APG 3.5 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 7.5 APG 3.3 RPG 0.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2021 Stats: 44 games/44 starts - 22.3 PPG 7.0 APG 3.6 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.6 SPG (Indiana)
2021 Stats: 36 games/36 starts - 17.8 PPG 8.3 APG 2.9 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.3 SPG (Denver)
2022 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 16.3 PPG 10.2 APG 2.7 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2023 Stats: 30 games/30 starts - 18.9 PPG 9.3 APG 2.7 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.6 SPG (New York)

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.5 APG 4.7 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.6 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.0 PPG 2.7 APG 4.6 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 57 games/57 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.8 APG 4.3 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.4 SPG
2022 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.3 PPG 2.0 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2023 Stats: 31 games/31 starts - 26.8 PPG 2.0 APG 4.9 RPG 1.2 BPG 1.3 SPG

I'd like to point out that Mateen is 35 years old and he's currently 2nd in the entire league in scoring. He's having an absolutely sick season and it's beyond fantastic to see. By the way, Marcelino Augusto is 6th in scoring at 24.5 points a game to go with 9.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as his three most noteworthy averages.

Oh yes, another interesting side note---Winston Smith, our surprise sub from last year who went to New York as part of the Buboltz deal, tore his MCL and is out for the year. It's a real shame too, because he was having an even better season for them than he had with us, which says a lot.
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:37 PM   #443
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Cleveland Cavaliers receive
PG Major Drayton
Milwaukee Bucks 2024 2nd round pick

Milwaukee Bucks receive
PG Andre Harper

What this means for the Cavaliers
The 36 year old Drayton has always been always had mediocre floor generalship and now he pairs with it atrocious defense. While he's the best passer and ballhandler on Cleveland's roster now, his lack of defense has him buried on the bench.

What this means for the Bucks
Harper, in his second season, is as vanilla a backup guard as you can get. That said, he's 24, plays something remotely resembling defense and is fairly secure a ballhandler.

Winner: Milwaukee
Not an exciting victory as both players are marginal at this point, but still a win for Milwaukee nonetheless.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
C Kevin Bradford

Indiana Pacers receive
Los Angeles Lakers 2024 1st round pick

What this means for the Lakers
In just one and a half professional basketball seasons, Bradford has already suited up for three different teams during the regular season. The former #2 overall selection is already looking a prime bust by all accounts, with no strengths and ugly ballhandling. That said, he'll start at C for the suddenly woeful Lakers while Austin Buller recovers from an injury.

What this means for the Pacers
Indiana's not going to the playoffs and they're currently very comfortable giving Lee McRae all the playing time in the world to develop at C. With the Lakers looking as bad as they are this year, the Pacers sew up another lottery pick for a player that didn't really fit in their plans.

Winner: Indiana
Highway robbery, pure and simple.

Washington Wizards receive
PF Jamarcus Wilson

Philadelphia 76ers receive
PG Charles Diggs

What this means for the Wizards
The 2021 Rookie of the Year gets relegated to a reserve role with Washington, but he's precisely the kind of solid young all-around player with standout rebounding that you want on your bench. The only question is if he'll be upset at the reduction in playing time.

What this means for the 76ers
Diggs is an outstanding ballthief, with some good shooting and offense-running abilities as well. Not the greatest defender in the world, but the second year man looks like he'll flourish in Philadelphia, where he slides into the SG spot and pairs with Corey Westbrooks to give the 76ers a dangerous, young backcourt to build their future on.

Winner: Philadelphia
While we like Wilson's balanced game, Diggs is the perfect fit for the 76ers, who are beginning to put together a nice youth movement and could be in the playoffs sometime soon with the right move or two.

Milwaukee Bucks receive
SG Andrew Bayno

Boston Celtics receive
SG Johnnie McIntyre

What this means for the Bucks
Bayno changes teams via trade yet again and he is what he is, an average reserve guard/SF with some intelligence, but no ability to make a highlight defensive play. He's a 12th man in Milwaukee

What this means for the Celtics
The 25 year old McIntyre has terrific form on his free throws and has some dynamite potential as a passer, ballhandler, defender, rebounder and student of the basketball game, but he has almost no scoring instincts and he sits on the inactives for Boston.

Winner: Draw
A dull trade that would be livened up if Boston gave McIntyre the playing time he needs to develop into the very good reserve he has the potential to be.

Memphis Grizzlies receive
PG Dave Linton
San Antonio Spurs 2024 2nd round pick

San Antonio Spurs receive
PF Ian McClinton

What this means for the Grizzlies
Linton has the ability to be a quality pass-first backup PG, but that's about it. He's a D-Leaguer for the time being.

What this means or the Spurs
McClinton can only play PF, but the rookie has some intriguing upside on the defensive end. That said, he's buried as the 12th man in San Antonio and he'll have a hard time breaking through to any kind of significant minutes.

Winner: Draw
Doesn't really improve either team and Memphis wastes an opportunity to get a legitimately useful player as they clear out their glut of talented young forwards.

Sacramento Kings receive
SF Jerrance Newman
Cleveland Cavaliers 2024 2nd round pick

Cleveland Cavaliers receive
SF Mike Poole

What this means for the Kings
Newman's just an average 34 year old swingman reserve. Nothing special or noteworthy here.

What this means for the Cavaliers
Poole can play SG, SF and PF, but none of them very well and while he's only 22, there's nothing to suggest that the second year former Sooner will be anything other than a bench scrub for as long as he hangs on in the league.

Winner: Sacramento
The Kings not only get the better of the two players, they get a free 2nd round pick on top of it.

Houston Rockets receive
PF Al Jefferson
Memphis Grizzlies 2024 2nd round pick

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SG Jason Pettaway

What this means for the Rockets
Jefferson can still bring some points, rebounds and defense, when the 38 year old isn't turning the ball over via dropping it or making a laughable attempt at a pass. In spite of his ballhandling woes, we dare somebody to find a 38 year old who converts 63% of his shots from the floor.

What this means for the Grizzlies
Pettaway's an average backup guard whose most notable attribute is a nasty 3 point shot. He's also 27, giving Memphis a major infusion of youth relative to the departed Jefferson. On the other hand, he's merely a 12th man.

Winner: Draw
If Pettaway was to get more minutes, this one would tilt Memphis's way, but with a passel of guards and swingmen on the Grizzlies' roster, he's just not going to get it without another trade.

Boston Celtics receive
PG Scott Miles

Los Angeles Lakers receive
Boston Celtics 2024 1st round pick

What this means for the Celtics
Miles, a 21 year old rookie taken 8th overall in the most recent draft, is a much better passer and ballhandler than starter Jon Costello, but he slots in as the 6th man, where he'll give a huge boost to the Celtics' bench as their best all-around guard in a young backcourt.

What this means for the Lakers
The Purple and Gold recover the 1st round pick they traded away, but while the Lakers are lottery-bound, Boston has a very real shot at making the playoffs and at absolute worst should be a late lottery pick, the #13 or #14 type.

Winner: Boston
The question boils down to: Is Miles worth a mid-1st round pick? We say yes, particularly given the horrendous quality or lack thereof of recent draft classes. He also fills a void for a good all-around guard on the C's bench.

Memphis Grizzlies receive
PG Jeremy Steele
Los Angeles Lakers 2024 2nd round pick

Los Angeles Lakers receive
SG Fred Bradley
PG Mike Conley

What this means for the Grizzlies
Memphis caps off a ridiculously busy trading month with the acquisition of a probable high 2nd round pick and Steele, the kind of veteran backbencher, high quality reserve that every team needs as the Grizzlies fight for a playoff spot.

What this means for the Lakers
Even at 35, Conley is a fantastic passer with a good shot and okay defense. But does that matter to the Lakers? No, because they shove him down in the 11th spot, where he'll barely see the light of day or the court. All you need to know about 2nd round pick Bradley is that he's shooting 38.1% in the D-Leagues.

Winner: Memphis
Conley's talents are wasted on the Lakers, who seem hell-bent on giving the Pacers the #1 overall pick next year, whereas Steele strengthens the Grizzlies and Memphis could have the 31st pick in the next draft.

Los Angeles Clippers receive
SF Prokopios Vadeki
Seattle Supersonics 2024 2nd round pick

Seattle Supersonics receive
SG Austin Forte

What this means for the Clippers
Second year man Vadeki could one day develop a wicked outside shot and scoring instincts, but he'll strictly be a role-player in that regard. There's nothing else to suggest that the Greek and former #3 overall pick is anything more than a colossal bust, especially since he's a 12th man on a talented Clippers roster.

What this means for the Supersonics
Forte's trade has long been rumored, with the Denver Nuggets repeatedly mentioned as a possibility. Instead, he lands on another Northwest team, where the burgeoning sharpshooter and defensive zero not only fits in perfectly with Seattle's tradition of great scorers who can't play D, he becomes the first PG/SF off the bench as the 7th man.

Winner: Seattle
Forte is a much more polished player, defense issues aside and he'll actually make the Supersonics a better team. The Clippers could've gotten a lot more for him than the ill-fitting Vadeki and a 2nd rounder.

Yeesh. Talk about making up for lost time. A ridiculous amount of trades in December.

Tim Butler will be back in a little over a week, so he'll miss our first three games, possibly our fourth as well.

Justin Cherry builds on his developing stardom with 20 points off the bench, Mateen Yeaton scores 31 and Andrew Bynum nets 11 points and 12 rebounds, but the rest of the team and our defense take the night off as the Spurs shock us 102-88 in San Antonio to put a surprising stop to our winning run. We snap back the next night for a 119-117 win over the Rockets, but we need OT to do it. Justin Cherry scores another 20 points off the bench, Mateen Yeaton puts up 28, Andrew Bynum hauls in 21 points and 12 rebounds and Zelipe Gama is an assist machine with 17 points and 24 assists.

Our play improves drastically as we sweep the next doubleheader. Tzvetan Kishishev gets a start at SF in place of the injured Jermaine Trask, but the real reason we obliterate Sacramento 122-106 is because of Mateen Yeaton (37 points), Andrew Bynum (22 points, 10 rebounds), Zelipe Gama (14 points, 21 assists), David Jackson (23 points) and Justin Cherry (11 bench points, his lowest total thus far). A fourth quarter rally gives us the 114-111 victory over the Lakers the next night, Justin Cherry returning to obscene form with 19 bench points, Mateen Yeaton scoring 25 and David Jackson putting up his second straight 20+ point game with 21. I think that's the first time that's happened in 50 Ninja's career. Timmy B scored 17 in his first game back.

We try to come back again in the fourth quarter, but our efforts fall just short in a 99-97 loss to the Timberwolves. It's amazing how much better Minnesota is with Branko Starcevic running the offense. Mateen Yeaton scores 23, but Justin Cherry is finally held in check, with just 4 bench points, the first time in his 8 game NBA career he's not reached double-digit points.

Despite Tim Butler's 24 points and 14 rebounds in our next game, I'm getting the sense we don't play as well with him in the lineup as we lose 117-104 to Golden State on the front end of a back to back. Or maybe it's Zelipe Gama's horrible shooting night that belies his 10 points and 11 assists. Just don't blame Justin Cherry, who rebounds for 14 points off the bench. An ugly defensive battle sees us come out 89-66 winners in Seattle, Andrew Bynum the best of the slugging men with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Tzvetan Kishishev adds 12 points off the bench.

Majorly retooled Memphis gets handed a 116-102 loss, Tim Butler soaring for 28 points. Mateen Yeaton scores 22, Zelipe Gama hands out 12 points and 16 assists and Jermaine Trask takes his turn to be best supporter with 15 bench points.

Five game road trip up next and I'm iffy on how we'll do. Our first one's in Dallas, which is sold out months in advance, of course. Devone Allen dazzles with 40 points and Marcelino Augusto puts up 25 points and 13 rebounds, but at the end of the night, we're holding a 121-112 win as all five starters score 13 or more points. Mateen Yeaton puts on fireworks of his own with 36 points, Tim Butler pulls down 20 points and 15 rebounds, Andrew Bynum clears a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds and Zelipe Gama is briskly efficient with 17 points and 19 assists.

Our Central journey wipes out all the good feeling of the Mavericks win as the Bulls and Pistons make us look stupid in back-to-back losses. 128-104 loss in Chicago to shrug off Mateen Yeaton's 34 points, Tim Butler's 23 points, Zelipe Gama's 16 points and 10 assists and Justin Cherry's 10 bench points. Detroit humiliates us 114-86 and the best we can do is Jermaine Trask's 20 bench points. Justin Cherry has the worst shooting night of his young career, finishing 1 for 6.

The skid hits four straight losses, the Bucks and Pacers knocking us off as well to finish the road trip a miserable 1-4. We lose 104-96 to Milwaukee, discarding Zelipe Gama's 22 points and David Jackson's 20 points. Mateen Yeaton and Tim Butler are a combined 4 for 24 on the night. Although Mateen Yeaton and Tim Butler snap back for 22 and 20 points the next night, Indiana still kicks our asses 95-76.

I think a big part of the problem is that Justin Cherry hasn't been getting the minutes he was during our hot streak. Standing in his way is Jermaine Trask, who's also been wildly inconsistent and not much of a points producer.

Now I know I should be having patience with Trask and allow him the time to grow into his abilities, but he's impeding Justin Cherry's progress and development, so, much to my regret, we'll have to deal him.

Denver Nuggets receive
PF Andy Sola
San Antonio Spurs 2024 1st round pick
San Antonio Spurs 2026 1st round pick

San Antonio Spurs receive
SF Jermaine Trask
PG Aaron Brennan
PG Ron Morant
Dallas Mavericks 2026 1st round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Sola is a jumper specialist averaging 20.8 points a game this season. Although listed as a PF and able to play C, he's most comfortable playing SF, which is where he'll start for Denver. An excellent shooter with an uncanny knack to draw fouls, he's able to convert free throws unlike a certain 50 Ninja. Extremely solid defender and defensive playmaker as well. His arrival means David Jackson moves to his much more effective 6th man role and the departures of Brennan, Morant and Trask mean Justin Cherry as the 7th man, with the revelation rookie getting more minutes again. The 1st round picks are a terrific bonus, with the 2024 bid a potential lottery selection.

What this means for the Spurs
The Spurs are building for the future with this deal. Trask will be the 7th man and give San Antonio excellent versatility as he works on fulfilling his massive potential. Brennan, a major disappointment with the Nuggets, gets a reset in San Antonio, but just as he did in Denver, he'll have to battle Morant for coaching favor and playing time. Neither one will supplant Ameirin Qipani as the starting PG, however, either now or in the future. Sola's leaving creates an opportunity for 7', 294 lb Brendan Mickeal, a big 26 year old who is a more natural choice for C than Sola was, as the new starting five.

Winner: Draw
The move benefits both teams and arguably, it's the domino effects on the roster that will better the Nuggets and Spurs most significantly. While Denver appears to have improved the most overall, they're now playing with a 12 man roster and that's with the still-injured Joem Layne included.

And unfortunately, we're -just- shy of being able to sign a player to fill the hole created. Fortunately, we're able to swing a trade to change things up.

Denver Nuggets receive
PF Lawrence Smiley

Cleveland Cavaliers receive
SF Jason Tackett
Denver Nuggets 2025 2nd round pick
Los Angeles Lakers 2025 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Smiley plays solid defense and is an offensive upgrade over Tackett, averaging 9.8 points a game and converting 52.3% of his field goal attempts. He'll cut a little into Justin Cherry's playing time, but it shouldn't be too drastic an imposition.

What this means for the Cavaliers
Tackett's one of the best guys in the league to have in the locker room and he plays the kind of lockdown defense the Cavaliers really need. But he's a terrible shooter, a career 36.6% from the floor and it's that inability to convert that'll keep him bound more towards the end of Cleveland's bench.

Winner: Denver
Their personalities may be as opposite as night and day, but the ironically named Smiley gives Denver some offensive firepower insurace on the bench and he's not going to be that much of a dropoff on defense.

With the money, we're able to sign street free agent PG Mike Walton to be a 23 year old 12th man. The former 2nd round pick of the Supersonics (6th pick in 2nd round - 2023 draft) actually isn't all that bad, all things considered.

On the other hand, we now have no bench point guards really capable of running the offense. That could come back to bite us in the butt, but we'll see what happens.

Jim O'Brien reverses his decision and starts David Jackson at SF again against the Knicks and 50 Ninja pours in 14 points and 10 rebounds in our 108-93 win. Tim Butler scores 28 and Zelipe Gama gets 11 points and 11 assists. But the month ends on a sour note as we lose 117-98 to the Traiblazers in Portland, in spite of Tim Butler's 27 points, David Jackson's 15 points and 10 rebounds and Justin Cherry's 10 bench points. I should also mention that Andy Sola has gone 1 for 13 in his first two games with us and is pissed about not starting.

That road loss to Portland costs us, as it puts us at 31-15, two games BEHIND the Traiblazers for the division. Dallas is winning despite their bizzare lineup and are 29-15, 9.5 ahead of Memphis, while the 29-16 Kings are fending off Golden State by 2 games.

Chicago's 36-7, 12.5 games ahead of Cleveland, who are back on winning track at 24-20. Toronto's 34-12 mark gives them an 8.5 game edge on the Knicks while Atlanta's discovered their old form, the 28-16 Hawks 2 games up on the Bobcats. Miami, by the way, had a horrible January, plummeting to the conference's worst record at 15-32.

Paulinho Buboltz
2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.7 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.4 SPG
2015 Stats: 55 games/48 starts - 14.1 PPG 8.3 APG 2.8 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 18.3 PPG 8.1 APG 3.3 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.5 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.1 PPG 8.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.5 PPG 8.3 APG 3.2 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 20.6 PPG 8.1 APG 3.5 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 7.5 APG 3.3 RPG 0.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2021 Stats: 44 games/44 starts - 22.3 PPG 7.0 APG 3.6 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.6 SPG (Indiana)
2021 Stats: 36 games/36 starts - 17.8 PPG 8.3 APG 2.9 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.3 SPG (Denver)
2022 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 16.3 PPG 10.2 APG 2.7 RPG 0.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2023 Stats: 45 games/45 starts - 18.3 PPG 9.5 APG 2.6 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.7 SPG (New York)

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 82 games/80 starts - 23.2 PPG 3.6 APG 5.2 RPG 1.7 BPG 1.3 SPG
2015 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.6 PPG 2.4 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.5 SPG
2016 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 25.0 PPG 3.1 APG 4.5 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.8 SPG
2017 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.4 PPG 3.2 APG 4.9 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG
2018 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 19.8 PPG 2.4 APG 4.2 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.2 SPG
2019 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.5 APG 4.7 RPG 1.5 BPG 1.6 SPG
2020 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 23.0 PPG 2.7 APG 4.6 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.4 SPG
2021 Stats: 57 games/57 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.8 APG 4.3 RPG 1.9 BPG 1.4 SPG
2022 Stats: 82 games/82 starts - 24.3 PPG 2.0 APG 4.5 RPG 1.6 BPG 1.3 SPG
2023 Stats: 46 games/46 starts - 25.6 PPG 1.8 APG 4.5 RPG 1.2 BPG 1.4 SPG

Buboltz is loving it in the Big Apple, really flourishing there. Yeaton's struggled as of late and I don't know if it's his age finally catching up to him or the fact that our entire offense seems to be a little out of sync. That said, he's still 4th in the league in scoring.

22 days until Joem Layne comes back. So the tail end of the short month. Good thing Andy Sola's an expiring $5.6 million contract, which the trade reviewer forgot to mention. He's looking like a problem after his first two games and the money we save by not keeping him will be a major benefit as I'm sure we'll have to tighten the belts next season as well.

If we can get through next year without my getting fired, we'll be in pretty good shap the rest of the way. Mateen Yeaton should come back for less money if he hasn't retired by then and David "50 Ninja" Jackson is willing to sign an extension that will pay him $2.4 million less the first season in exchange for a 6 year deal that stacks up with 9% raises each year.

I haven't decided whether or not to retain him. I probably will, but I want to see how the rest of this year goes.
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2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

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Old 01-01-2009, 03:02 PM   #444
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Milwaukee Bucks receive
PG Kelvin Brown

Golden State Warriors receive
C Mario Florence

What this means for the Bucks
Brown's 33 and a curious case of a good passer with inept ballhandling skills. He's an average bench option on offense and respectable on defense.

What this means for the Warriors
Florence is a mediocre center at 34, with his greatest asset the fact that he doesn't complain about playing time.

Winner: Draw
Doesn't give an upgrade to either team, really and it's an odd move for Golden State, who are trying to snap a 14 year playoff drought, the longest in the NBA for anyone not named the New Orleans Hornets.

New Jersey Nets receive
SG Georgi Dimov

Miami Heat receive
SF Leroy Freeman
New Jersey Nets 2024 1st round pick

What this means for the Nets
The #1 overall pick in the draft shot a horrendous 39.1% in Miami, causing the Heat to dump the 20 year old Bulgarian quickly. He won't ever be a great defender, but if he can develop a more accurate shooting stroke, he's got the ballhandling and rebounding skills (for a guard) to become an impact player. He's also averaging 15.3 points and 1.3 blocks in his rookie season, which is nothing to sneeze at. Dimov steps in as the new starting SG for the Nets, who are vying for a playoff spot.

What this means for the Heat
Want to know why Miami's only had two playoff appearances since GM Jestor entered the league, with only one division title, the last time they made the playoffs, in 2014? It's because of stupid moves like getting a 30 year old mid-bench defensive specialist in Freeman and a mid 1st round pick for the player drafted #1 overall. The Heat just guaranteed a throwaway season and a higher pick for the Nuggets next draft, after actually looking mildly competitive the first couple months.

Winner: New Jersey
The Nets now have an exciting young backcourt in Corey Neal and Dimov and had to give up comparatively little to do it. Miami's 8 year playoff drought is going to extend to 9 this season and they're quite likely to hit the double digit mark, such is the repair job needed on the team.

Toronto Raptors receive
SF Ladrick Battle

Utah Jazz receive
PG Brandon Brooks
Toronto Raptors 2024 1st round pick

What this means for the Raptors
Battle's got some upside as an outside shooter and a rebounder and his ceiling suggests he could be a very nice, versatile bench player if the 23 year old fills out his development. He also injects sorely needed youth on a Raptors team that has a grand total of two forwards or centers under the age of 30 and both of them are bottom feeders.

What this means for the Jazz
Native son and Utah Sixer Brooks returns home at 37 years old, in his 16th season. The old man's still got pretty good all-around game though, particularly as a passer and ballhandler. But the Jazz are struggling after Scott Palmer broke his arm and Brook is blocked on the bench by Cedric Caldwell and Carlton Goree. The first round pick is a surefire late selection.

Winner: Toronto
The Raptors address a major need area and given the poor quality of recent draft classes, they might not get a player of Battle's possibility in next year's go-round.

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SF Lannce Dudley

Los Angeles Clippers receive
C Chris Washington
Memphis Grizzlies 2024 2nd round pick

What this means for the Grizzlies
Dudley's a great player to have on the bench. Able to cover every spot on the court but center, he has a sweet jumper, good scoring instincts and ballhandling and lockdown defense. It's curious that he's never been a starter in the NBA, because he has the game to be.

What this means for the Clippers
Washington has good hands for a big man and can shotblock well, but that's about it. On the other hand, that's an upgrade for a second bench big compared to the other roster fodder the Clippers have in Josh Daniels.

Winner: Memphis
The Grizzlies pick up a player in Dudley that can propel them to the playoffs, whereas the Clippers tread water and possibly even taken a small step back in their pursuit of a repeat division title.

Not as hectic as December's dealing insanity, but still a pretty busy market in January. I love what New Jersey did, not only because it helps us out, but because it shows the Nets have a team-building plan. Then again, with Tim Duncan in the GM chair, you knew that was going to happen. I mean, look at the beaut of a job he did with the Knicks.

Jim O'Brien gets a 3 year contract extension and an honestly well-deserved $1.3 million a year raise. 3rd assistant Monty Williams takes a small paycut for another three years of job security.

Andy Sola gets the surprise start at SF in our first game in February and goes from 1 for 13 his first two games to 4 for 6 in this one. We blow out Golden State 122-106, running them ragged in the fourth quarter. Mateen Yeaton and Tim Butler score 26 points a piece and two benchmen match in points as well, with Justin Cherry and Darrell James each scoring 14.

We split the divisional doubleheader. Utah gets pounded 117-87 as Andy Sola scores 22 and Lawrence Smiley and David Jackson combine for 10 and 18 points off the bench. But the next night, Minnesota, who's given us fits all season, downs us 113-86 as we can only come up with Mateen Yeaton's 25 points and Zelipe Gama's cheapskate double-double of 10 points, 10 assists.

Andy Sola's finally starting to pay off dividends as he gets used to our offense, scoring 28 in our 106-87 beatdown of the Cavs. Justin Cherry and David Jackson power the reserves with 17 and 12 points respectively and it sure feels nice having 50 Ninja backing us up.

New Jersey's improved, but they can't compete with Mateen Yeaton's 29 points, not when they're paired with now at PF Andy Sola's 20 points or David Jackson's 15 bench points in our 110-101 victory. The Nets' time will come; it's just not here yet.

The Hawks hose our win streak, cooling us off for a 106-90 loss in spite of Andy Sola's 22 points and Zelipe Gama's 14 points and 13 assists, but we bounce right back the next night in Charlotte for a 103-97 win on 3 players with 20+ points: Mateen Yeaton (27), Tim Butler (20) and Andy Sola (20), as Timmy B and Sola switched forward spots again to more natural positions. For those keeping track, that's four straight 20+ point games for the newest Nugget. Zelipe Gama contributed a double-double of 12 points and 11 assists.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with our 5-2 record for the month heading into the All-Star break, particularly since five of those games were on the road, something we had big problems with last year and earlier this season.

The Sophomores smack down the Rookies 104-90. It's pretty amusing seeing no less than 4 former Nuggets on the second years, including two starters in Deon Sterley and Kevin Bradford. Darren Hare and Jermaine Trask were the other two. As for current Denver representation, Justin Cherry makes it as a reserve, but has a surprisingly quiet 1 rebound and 1 assist in 11 minutes, going without taking a shot. Contrast this to Wendel King, who led all scorers with 25 points. Tom Singletary, a second-year Hornet, won MVP with 21 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, a block and a steal.

Mateen Yeaton gets snubbed by the All-Star Game, which really burns me up and makes me unable to enjoy the West's 92-83 besting of the East. Keith Attaway won Game MVP only because he led in scoring with 25 points. The last time Mateen made the All-Star game was two years ago and to me, there's just something seriously wrong with that.

Anger energizes Mateen Yeaton to 28 points, but we come out flat and fail to rally for the comeback in a 104-98 loss to the Celtics in our first post All-Star break game. Of course, it didn't help that Andy Sola got a really nasty gash in his calf and played just five minutes.

I rummage around at the trade deadline, looking for cheap, good pass-first PG help. I find a possibility, but have to pay a steeper price than I'd like to get him.

Denver Nuggets receive
PG Higgins Malone
Minnesota Timberwolves 2025 2nd round pick
Minnesota Timberwolves 2026 2nd round pick

Minnesota Timberwolves receive
SG Darren Davis

What this means for the Nuggets
Denver needed more PG help and in the 25 year old, third season Malone, the Nuggets get a young man with very good ballhandling skills, a diverse shooting range, average scoring instincts with upside, decent defense and a smart player with some more room for growth. Not a premiere passer, but his skill set looks to be the sort that can be a valuable reserve if the former 2nd round pick (7th pick, 2nd round - 2021 - Clippers) re-ups with Denver. The second rounders bring much needed trade bait.

What this means for the Timberwolves
Davis has tantalizing potential as a lockdown defender and an instinctual scorer with a great ceiling for understanding the game. But the 21 year old appeared in only 16 games this season at 2.8 minutes a game and it's worth noting that GM Jestor declined to give Davis his fourth year option. So it seems that he'll never reach his ability, because he gets even less PT with the T-Wolves, chained to the inactive list.

Winner: Denver
Jestor's done it again, making the kind of small deadline move that'll pay off dividends in the long run. Nice bonus with the 2nd round picks and Malone being more polished than Davis and a greater need makes this a slam dunk for the Nuggets.

I hated giving up Davis, but when I didn't exercise his fourth year, I had a feeling I wasn't going to be bringing him back anyway. This way, I get a couple freebie 2nd rounders and the chance to audition Malone to see if he's worth returning next summer.

A fourth quarter meltdown translates into a heartbreaking 112-109 loss in Memphis. Tim Butler scores 26, Mateen Yeaton 20 and Zelipe Gama garners 17 points and 11 assists, but it's amazing how much weaker a team we are without Andy Sola in the lineup. He's making a strong case for us to re-sign him.

The Hornets are a godsend and we get a major confidence-boosting victory in New Orleans, winning all four quarters en route to a 121-98 rout. Tim Butler explodes for 36 points, Mateen Yeaton adds 23 points and we get dinky double-doubles from Andrew Bynum (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (12 points, 11 assists). Justin Cherry scores 13 off the bench.

Tim Butler has his second straight 30+ point game with 32 in our 120-108 revenge victory over the Hawks. Mateen Yeaton plays a great second with 28 points, Andrew Bynum is right behind with 27 points and Zelipe Gama is the knifeman, carving Atlanta for 18 points and 12 assists.

With those two consecutive wins, we jump up to 38-19 and a deadlock with Portland atop the Northwest. It's us and the Trailblazers, as the Jazz are 15 games back in third place.

Dallas is actually being challenged by the Grizzlies, but 34-22 still gives the Mavericks a 4.5 game lead. Evidently Memphis knew what it was doing though, because they've shot up to a 30-27 record.

Fun dogfight in the Pacific, where 36-23 Sacramento is a game up on Golden State, 1.5 half on the Clippers and 3 on the Suns, Phoenix the biggest surprise of the season.

40-14 isn't enough for Chicago to retain their lead on the #1 seed, because the Raptors are rampaging at 43-14. The Bulls and Toronto both wield leads in excess of 10 games over the Cavaliers and Celtics though. The reverse is true in the Southeast, where Charlotte's 36-19, a game in front of Atlanta and Orlando's hanging around at 4.5 back.

NBA Leaders

Scoring
1. Justin Richler (TOR) - 28.4
2. Gaylen Drayton (DET) - 26.7
3. Filip Mikulic (HOU) - 26.5
4. Mateen Yeaton (DEN) - 25.1
10. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) 23.0

Assists
1. Bernard Kelly (MEM) - 14.2
2. Kenny Graham (SAC) - 12.1
3. Keith Attaway (IND) - 11.8
5. Zelipe Gama (DEN) - 11.1
8 players with 10+ assists

Rebounds
1. Greg Oden (TOR) - 14.3
2. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 14.1
3. Oswaldo Apolonario (ATL) - 13.5
4. Jonte Jones (SAC) - 12.4

Blocks
1. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 3.7
2. Martin Beerbohm (BOS) - 3.6
3. Sonny Boxler (POR) - 3.3
6. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) - 2.9

Amazing... a swingman #3 in the league in blocks. Man, was I ever wrong about Boxler.

Steals
T1. Brian Brown (GSW) - 1.9
T1. Bernard Kelly (MEM) - 1.9
T1. Jermaine Butler (BOS) - 1.9
T1. Pete Latham (SA) - 1.9
T1. Kyle Smith (CLE) - 1.9

Rookie Leaders

Scoring
1. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 15.4
2. Michael Woods (PHO) - 12.1
3. Justin Cherry (DEN) - 10.4
4. Wendel King (CLE) - 10.1

Assists
1. Wendel King (CLE) - 5.1
T2. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 3.7
T2. Scott Miles (BOS) - 3.7
6. Justin Cherry (DEN) - 2.1

King's numbers are obviously inflated by being a terrible PG for the Cavaliers.

Rebounds
1. Scott Costello (SEA) - 7.7
2. Michael Woods (PHO) - 7.1
3. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 4.0
7. Justin Cherry (DEN) - 2.2
9. Wendel King (CLE) - 1.7

Blocks
1. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 1.3
2. Scott Costello (SEA) - 1.0
3. Michael Woods (PHO) - 0.7
T5. Justin Cherry (DEN) - 0.4

Steals
1. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 1.3
T2. Justin Cherry (DEN) - 0.8
T2. Michael Woods (PHO) - 0.8
T4. Wendel King (CLE) - 0.7

Makes you wonder what Cherry's numbers would look like if he were starting like King is.
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2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:20 AM   #445
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Milwaukee Bucks receive
SG Patrick Hawkins

Seattle Supersonics receive
PF Lubomir Novotny
SF Jarrod Owens

What this means for the Bucks
Hawkins, 22, is in his 4th season and has all the skills needed to be a starter. Great scoring instincts, a good jumper, pretty good defense and a good understanding of the game, with a little bit of upside thrown in. He'll serve as the 6th man and understudy to Lebron James for now, with a probable promotion to the starting SG spot next year.

What this means for the Supersonics
Novotny busts his tail off, but he just doesn't have any talent to speak of other than decent defense. While he may be just 21 and in his second season, he hasn't shown anything than a career D-leaguer skillset, maybe not even that. Hill is a safe shooter, but roster bench filler.

Winner: Milwaukee
In a youth for youth deal (Hill's 24, in his 3rd season), the Bucks unload two garbage young men for a high quality youngster who could start for them as soon as next season. The Supersonics have gone from a borderline playoff team to one of the worst in just a few short seasons and things don't appear to be getting better any time soon, if this trade is any indication.

Charlotte Bobcats receive
C Fabian Kruger

Miami Heat receive
PG Louis Mertens
PF Federico Gomez

What this means for the Bobcats
The 26 year old Argentian Kruger is the single worst defending center in the entire league. He's so bad on defense, the Great Polish Sieve, Narcyz Malinomowski, looks like a lockdown player compared to him. That said, he's a deadly accurate shooter, as in a career 58.2% from the floor shooter and has converted in excess of 60% of his shots a few seasons. His 7'3, 299 frame allows him to grab rebounds from some of the smaller centers that he wouldn't otherwise get, even if he's not a natural at it. But that big body does nothing in blocks, as he's had just 25 blocks in his entire 8 year career and 15 of those were in his first two season. He flirted with a 20 point per game average last season and he's doing it this year as well, but hasn't it. He probably will next season and between him and 24 year old Pole Oliwjer Rosiak, the Bobcats have a very exciting, young, international starting frontcourt. Victor Gipson moves to the 6th man role, giving Charlotte 7-footers around the 300 pound mark on both the starting five and the bench. That's a lot of size to bang and bruise other teams with.

What this means for the Heat
Miami seems to love collecting ex-Nuggets and they get another one in Mertens, who first came to national acclaim when playing in Denver. A breathtaking passer with an accurate shot, he's notorious for his laxness on defense. He's been made a 6th man in Miami and is absolutely furious about it, claiming he should start over Derrick Attaway. We agree with the 26 year old Belgian and it's another misstep by myopic Miami. Gomez was released, making this a Mertens for Kruger trade. On the other hand, Clifton Snyder, the new C, is a pretty accurate shooter himself and can actually play defense, unlike Kruger. Greatly overmatched at 6'9, 235 at the five, though.

Winner: Charlotte
Fantastic move for the Bobcats, who have never had an elite level scorer in their history. They get one now in Kruger and with him inside, there's a chance he could free up more shot opportunities for Rosiak when he draws the defense. The Mertens hype is overblown, as he's only been a starter once in his eight year career, in 2021 with the Nuggets and only averaged 10 points and 7.9 assists in 82 games and 61 starts.

Fascinating Kruger/Mertens deal there. Even with his inability to play defense, Kruger intrigued me and I almost thought about trying to get him a few times, just as I almost made a deal for Antonio Sarchet, the former Sun-now Bull PF who converts an average of 60% from the floor and has some wicked rebounding hops besides. That was back when he was in Phoenix, though I forget just who I was shopping at the time.

The Pacers execute a fourth quarter rally and pull out the 102-100 upset to pen the month. I'm just sick over the loss, even as Tim Butler grabs 21 points and 11 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scores 22, Zelipe Gama gets 11 points and 12 assists and Justin Cherry and Tzvetan Kishishev provide a bench spark with 15 and 12 points respectively.

Things go from bad to worse as the Clippers bounce us 95-73 and everybody plays like they're in a fog. We're really missing Andy Sola in the lineup and I'm just about convinced that he needs to be handed a contract extension.

Three losses in a row after Portland pulverizes us 114-101, Tim Butler's 26 points and 13 rebounds our lone bright spot. If we keep playing this badly, I may have to do that which I don't want to.

All five starters score 12 points or more, Zelipe Gama puts in 14 points and 13 assists and Lawrence Smiley and Tzvetan Kishishev contribute 11 and 10 points off the bench to stave off San Antonio 106-87. We win two in a row by beating Phoenix 115-91 the next night, Tim Butler scoring 25, Mateen Yeaton 29. Andrew Bynum nabs 13 points and 10 rebounds, Zelipe Gama 19 points and 12 assists as Jim O'Brien gets a stay of execution.

Andy Sola comes back the next game and saves us with 28 points in a 109-107 nailbiter over the Bobcats. Tim Butler scores 21 and Zelipe Gama cheerfully totals up 15 points and 17 assists. Sola gets the two year contract extension he wants the next morning.

How does Andy Sola reward me for that extension? With 29 points in our 113-86 revenge crunching of the Clippers. Tim Butler scores 25 and David Jackson storms off the bench for 16 points and 10 rebounds. I've already decided that 50 Ninja just isn't a worthwhile starter and if I'm forced to cut salary next year, he's going to be the player I move. I love the guy and the energy he brings to the team, but unless we get a new owner, one who's less of an ass about spending, I might not have a choice.

It's Andy Sola as POTG again with 31 points as we edge the Bucks 103-95. Mateen Yeaton adds 20 points and Andrew Bynum (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Zelipe Gama (17 points, 11 assists) double-double. A far cry from the 1 for 13 in two games Sola started his Denver career with, that's for sure.

We end up on the wrong side of a 129-119 shootout versus the Wizards and not even Tim Butler's 27 points and 11 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton's 27 points and Zelipe Gama's 17 points and 17 assists can save us when Andy Sola fouls out early.

The Lakers prove great guests in letting us kick their asses 122-95. Zelipe Gama sprang up for 20 points and 12 assists, Mateen Yeaton scores 24 and Tim Butler rounds out the 20+ point club with 20.

Another shootout, but this one goes our way as we win 125-115 over Sacramento on Tim Butler's 33 points, Andy Sola's 23 points, Mateen Yeaton's 28 points and a cool 20 points and 15 assists from Zelipe Gama.

A 112-98 win in Phoenix comes courtesy of Mateen Yeaton (26 points), Zelipe Gama (21 points, 10 assists), Tim Butler (21 points, 11 rebounds) and David Jackson (14 bench points). Nice turnaround from our 0-3 start of the month.

We beat back the Jazz 121-112 thanks to Andy Sola's 35 points, Tim Butler's 19 points and 10 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton's 24 points, Zelipe Gama's 10 points and 17 assists and 10 bench points from Justin Cherry, who's had a surprisingly quiet March.

The Spurs go down 110-90 on the front end of the month's concluding back-to-back, Andy Sola and Tim Butler thundering for 27 and 29 points a piece. Justin Cherry was the other man of the night with 11 bench points. But then we go to Portland the next night and get torched 127-106. Tim Butler puts up 25 points, but Andy Sola has to come off the bench for his 17 points because of a wrist injury and Darrell James's additional 13 bench points isn't enough.

That loss drops us to 48-24, three games behind the Trailblazers for the Northwest and the top seed. God, I hate Portland. All those years of underachieving and they're choosing Mateen Yeaton's twilight to suddenly play up to their talent level. Dallas is 41-31, but the Grizzlies are still giving them a fight, just 2.5 back while 47-27 Sacramento is simultaneously chasing us for the #2 seed and trying to hold off the second-place Clippers, who are 2.5 games behind.

Toronto's already clinched the Atlantic at 49-23, 10.5 ahead of the Knicks, but the Bulls, already long-acknowledged Central champs, are in the top seed lead at 53-19 (15.5 games ahead of the Cavaliers) and two teams in the Southeast are in the thick of it as well, 48-24 Charlotte and 47-25 Atlanta.

Some exciting races in both conferences for playoff positioning over the last 10 games. I don't think we'll repeat last year's miracle clinch of the Northwest, but I'd be happy with a repeat of the #2 seed.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:08 PM   #446
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10 games left in the regular season and we'll need to have a lights out run, coupled with a Portland collapse, to have any chance at all at winning the division and the #1 seed.

The whole team forgets how to play basketball in a 123-93 loss to the Grizzlies, but Tim Butler remembers how in bashing his old team, the Hornets, for 38 points and 13 rebounds the next night in our 112-89 New Orleans win. Andrew Bynum puts up 17 points and 13 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton scores 20.

We say goodbye to the division, maybe the #2 seed as well, in dropping both games of a divisional doubleheader. 123-94 the final against the Timberwolves, who I don't want to play in the postseason. Tim Butler's the only one to show up, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Mateen Yeaton scores 31 and Tim Butler repeats his 17 point, 10 rebound performance, but our defense disappears, Seattle sinking us 101-84.

Mateen Yeaton's 36 points and Tim Butler's 23 points and 10 rebounds bail us out in a 101-99 heartstopper against Golden State, putting us at 2-4 thus far.

Andy Sola recovers from his wrist injury, returning to score 23 as we wax the Hornets 117-88. Justin Cherry rediscovers his shooting stroke to score 20 off the bench and David Jackson pulls down 11 bench rebounds.

We claw our way back to .500 at 4-4 by spanking Memphis 112-95 on Mateen Yeaton's 23 points, Tim Butler's 24 points, Andrew Bynum's double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds and Zelipe Gama's 12 points and 12 assists. Andy Sola gets hurt again, this time with back spasms, and the Rockets destroy us 122-84 in Houston as we look completely lost without Sola.

With two games left, we can clinch the #2 seed with one more win. The Suns slaughter us 124-91, Justin Cherry's 10 bench points our lone highlight, but we unexpectedly upset Portland 112-92 in the final game of the regular season. David Jackson races for 17 points, 14 rebounds and 6 steals, Tim Butler has his third 17 point, 10 rebound showing of the last ten games, [b]Andrew Bynum and Mateen Yeaton score 21 and 20 points a piece and Andy Sola comes off the bench for 10 points.

West Conference Seedings
1. Portland Traiblazers (56-26)
2. Denver Nuggets (53-29)
3. Sacramento Kings (51-31)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (50-32)
5. Dallas Mavericks (49-33)
6. Phoenix Suns (48-34)
7. Memphis Grizzlies (43-39)
8. Golden State Warriors (40-42)

Despite imploding down the stretch, the Warriors finally end their playoff drought, squeaking in as the #8 seed.

East Conference Seedings
1. Chicago Bulls (62-20)
2. Toronto Raptors (54-28)
3. Atlanta Hawks (53-29)
4. Charlotte Bobcats (50-32)
5. New York Knicks (46-36)
6. Orlando Magic (45-37)
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38)
8. Boston Celtics (41-41)

Poor Philadelphia. The 76ers lose the tiebreaker to the Celtics and have to sit home.

NBA Leaders

Scoring
1. Justin Richler (TOR) - 27.5
3. Filip Mikulic (HOU) - 27.2
2. Gaylen Drayton (DET) - 26.4
8. Mateen Yeaton (DEN) - 23.3
10. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) 22.0

Assists
1. Bernard Kelly (MEM) - 13.6
2. Kenny Graham (SAC) - 12.0
3. Keith Attaway (IND) - 11.6
5. Zelipe Gama (DEN) - 11.1
9 players with 10+ assists

Rebounds
T1. Greg Oden (TOR) - 14.3
T1. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 14.3
3. Oswaldo Apolonario (ATL) - 13.6
5. Jonte Jones (SAC) - 11.8

Blocks
1. Dontay Williamson (LAC) - 3.9
2. Sonny Boxler (POR) - 3.5
3. Martin Beerbohm (BOS) - 3.3
7. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) - 2.8

Steals
T1. Jermaine Butler (BOS) - 1.9
T1. Pete Latham (SA) - 1.9
T1. Kyle Smith (CLE) - 1.9

Rookie Leaders

Scoring
1. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 15.1
2. Michael Woods (PHO) - 12.3
3. Wendel King (CLE) - 10.4
4. Justin Cherry (DEN) - 8.8

Assists
1. Wendel King (CLE) - 5.0
2. Scott Miles (BOS) - 3.8
3. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 3.6
7. Justin Cherry (DEN) - 2.0

Rebounds
1. Scott Costello (SEA) - 7.1
2. Michael Woods (PHO) - 6.9
3. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 4.0

Blocks
1. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 1.2
2. Scott Costello (SEA) - 1.1
3. Michael Woods (PHO) - 0.7

Steals
1. Georgi Dimov (NJ) - 1.1
2. Jarod Jones (MIL) - 0.8
3. Michael Woods (PHO) - 0.7
T4. Wendel King (CLE) - 0.6
T4. Justin Cherry (DEN) - 0.6
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:22 AM   #447
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I'l be honest. I'm worried going into this postseason. After Minnesota upset us last year and our erratic play this year, someting tells me we're ripe for another one and done.

Can Nuggets Avoid Another Pyrite Finish?
Last season's nightmare first round loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves still haunts GM Jestor and the Denver Nuggets. It very nearly led to Jestor's firing and franchise Bob Neal created a tense, financially strict climate in the Mile High City in response to the collapse.

But the Raffle GM showed off his trade wizard skills again, pulling off deals that reeled in supersub Justin Cherry and differencemaker forward Andy Sola, along with two first round picks from San Antonio. Thus, the Nuggets were able to repeat as the #2 seed in a year when many predicted they'd be a low playoff team or miss the postseason altogether.

However, this year's Denver team was prone to slumps, losing streaks that'd be disastrous in the playoffs and in particular seemed lost down the stretch whenever Sola was injured. The new star forward has been banged up three times since coming to the Nuggets, with a bruised calf, a sprained wrest and back spasms, the latter of which look to limit him in first-round action against the Grizzlies.

Such tidings bode ill for Denver's second round hopes.

Point Guard
Zelipe Gama vs. Bernard Kelly

One of the reasons for optimism in Denver is the return of the Spainard Gama, who plays the type of pass-first game Jestor covets in his point guards, as opposed to the shooter type the Nuggets had in Paulinho Buboltz last season. Although he's 32 years old, Gama doesn't appear to have lost a step, averaging 13.5 points, 11.1 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals in the regular season, setting career highs in points per game and blocks per game and having his second best season in assists per game. Great passer, accurate shooter, good playmaker defender for the man who runs Denver's offense better than anyone else to play the position in Jestor's time here.

Kelly's only 5'11, 157 lbs, but he plays much, much bigger than that, with the kind of silky passing that makes Kenny Graham and Louis Mertens look like Starbury. His 13.6 assists per game this season was the best since John Stockton's 13.7 in 1991. The 26 year old also averaged 16.8 points and 1.8 steals in the regular season and has an absolutely deadly 3 point shot to go with his filthy stealing talents and otherwordly passing skills.

Advantage: Memphis

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Durko Jagr

How many 35 year olds can do what the immortal Yeaton has done? He averaged 23.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals in the regular season, shooting 49.8% from the floor and converting a career-high 92% from the free throw line. His physical skills may be in decline, but his heart and spirit are as fierce as ever in his 14th NBA season, 11th in Denver.

Jagr has decent size at 6'5, 222 lbs and plays respectable defense. He's a solid all-around starting SG, averaging 13.2 points, 5 assists and 1.2 steals in the regular season, but he's no Yeaton and he doesn't stand out in any particular area. He has a tendency to take a lot more shots in the playoffs, which translate to higher points, but a much lower shooting percentage.

Advantage: Denver

Small Forward
David Jackson vs. Shane Holliway

50 Ninja had a career high 10.8 points in the regular season to go with his 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and steal per game, starting off hot before tailing off in the second half of the season. He began complaining again towards the end of the year about not starting more and the team seemed to play off-kilter whenever he was in the starting lineup. Solid all-around, with a particular knack for drawing fouls and fantastic hands for a big man. He usually does well in the playoffs, but he may be a distraction, particularly given that his future in Denver is uncertain.

The 26 year old Holliway has improved each of his six seasons in the league and posted a line of 18.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals in the regular season, showing greatly improved accuracy on his shot and more dedication to defense. Phenomenal scoring instincts make him a fun player to watch and he's a pretty good passer for his position. Defense isn't stellar, but his ball thievery skills make up for it and his undersized 6'6, 224 lbs frame. That smallness may be a problem going up against the 6'11, 282 lbs Jackson.

Advantage: Memphis

Power Forward
Tim Butler vs. Ronnie Fry

Injuries limited Butler to 61 games this season and he had an extremely disappointing 16.5 points and 6.4 rebounds. At times, he looked brilliant; other games, he looked lost. That doesn't speak for a promising playoffs, especially since he struggled last year, converting 41.7% of his shots. Not a good defender and can't make disruptive plays, nor can he rebound very well. Basically, he's a one-dimensional inside scorer.

The 21 year old Fry may be spindly at 6'11, 221 lbs, but he has an excellent shot repertoire and fights fanatically for rebounds, as his regular season of 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and a steal illustrate. He also plays tough, suffocating defense and has good basketball IQ. Fry looked much more comfortable with shooting the ball this year and that spells trouble for the Nuggets, as he's poised for a much more active postseason presence than last year, when he averaged just 9 points a game.

Advantage: Memphis

Center
Andrew Bynum vs. Narcyz Malinomowski

Bynum's 37, but he's still a nails-tough defender and his 7', 285 lb body lets him get rebounds he would otherwise be too slow to reach. One of the safest shooters in the game, he shot 60.5% on his way to 13.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks, a regular season outing that surprised Jestor, who clashed with head coach Jim O'Brien over Bynum's nomination to the starting lineup. But Bynum showed he still has it and it'll be interesting to see how he does this playoffs.

In the last 15 seasons, Malinomowski has missed a grand total of 4 regular season starts and has never missed a postseason start. That kind of durability and stability isn't one you often see in today's NBA and while his mediocre defense earned Narcyz the nickname of The Great Polish Sieve, he's a top-notch shotblocker, averaging 3 blocks on the season along with 16.2 points and 11.5 rebounds. One of the better all-around centers in the league throughout his lengthy career with the Grizzlies after being taken 2nd overall in the 2009 draft, he's consistent and a team leader.

Advantage: Draw

Bench

One of the biggest stories in Denver this year was the #3 overall pick, Wendel King, being traded to Cleveland for the #22 overall pick, Justin Cherry and Cherry bursting on the scene with a string of high-scoring games off the bench in his first several NBA games. Although he tapered off the down the stretch, he still averaged 8.8 points on 51.4% shooting and appears to be Yeaton's heir apparent. Lawrence Smiley, a mid-season acquistion also from the Cavaliers who plays tough-nosed defense and has a good scoring game off the bench, averaged 7.1 points between the two teams. Ever-steady Belgian and Jestor favorite Tzvetan Kishishev averaged 5.7 points with his trademark lockdown defense. An injured Andy Sola is here too after averaging 18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 steals as Denver's lynchpin after coming over from San Antonio at the deadline. He plays very good all-around defense and has a beautiful outside shot. If the Nuggets have a weakness, it's that they don't have a truly good pass-first backup PG that's usually a priority on Jestor's teams.

Second year man Deon Sterley, a former Nugget with a great all-around game, particularly on rebounding and defense, will seek to avenge himself on his old employers after averaging 7.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in the regular season. Lannce Dudley, another player who suited up once for Denver, is an underrated shooter who plays lockdown defense and finished the regular season averaging 6.2 points. Dudley's also capable of playing every position but C. But like the Nuggets, the Grizzlies lack a legitimate passer, as Dave Linton is too turnover prone. More importantly, Memphis has no bench guards they trust, despite the presence of Jeremy Steele, a good, balanced guard and yet another once upon a time Nugget who should be getting a lot more playing time than the paltry 5.2 minutes a game he's been getting with the Grizzlies.

Advantage: Denver

Final Thoughts

On paper, the Grizzlies are favored, especially with all these former Nuggets having extra incentive to beat Denver and indeed, the Grizzlies pulverized Denver by 30 in Memphis during the last ten games in the regular season. But then the Nuggets came back and trounced the Grizzlies in Denver during that same set. Homecourt advantage and Andy Sola's health are going to decide this and in a long enough series, particularly a seven game one, that just barely favors the Nuggets.
Prediction: Denver in 7

Frankly, I'd be happy with that result, especially given how inconsistently we've played this year.

Game One
I wouldn't be surprised to see us lose this game, but Mateen Yeaton comes out on fire, adding to his already storied legacy with 32 points. Zelipe Gama trolls in his wake for 17 points and 10 assists and Tim Butler has a dynamite all-around game with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. All of our starting 5 scores at least 13 points and the Grizzlies just can't match that kind of production. Bernard Kelly scores 22, Narcyz Malinomowski pulls down 12 points and 13 rebounds and Deon Sterley impresses with 14 bench points, but we blow Memphis out of the water and send notice to everyone watching that the playoffs is a whole new ballgame.
Final - Memphis 89 Denver 110

Game Two
Three Memphis players break 20+ points: Narcyz Malinomowsk (26 points, 12 rebounds), Shane Holliway (22 points) and Ronnie Fry (21 points, but Tim Butler has his turn to go bananas on the Grizzlies, exciting the home crowd with a breathtaking 38 point, 11 rebound performance. Mateen Yeaton chips in 25 points and Zelipe Gama gets a near 20/20 line with 21 points and 19 assists. By the time the final whistle blows, we've got a 24 point win and the unbeatable satisfaction of having crushed them 38-15 in the fourth quarter. The 2-0 series lead is nice, too. Oh yes, that reminds me. David Jackson had a perfect 8 for 8 shooting night for 16 points. Great to see that from 50 Ninja, even though he probably won't be here next year.
Final - Memphis 98 Denver 124

Tim Butler strains an abdominal muscle while he's out there shredding the Grizzlies, making his Game 2 outing all the more amazing. Our probable future team captain is showing toughness by playing through it, though.

Game Three
An injured Timmy B is made up for by the return of Andy Sola, or at least that's how it appears before we trek to Memphis for the third game. Unfortunately, theory doesn't match reality as Andy Sola's 26 points is more than countered by Ronnie Fry's 35 points and 11 rebounds. Zelipe Gama does his best with 11 points and 10 assists, but Bernard Kelly outplays him with 22 points and 22 assists, getting the 20/20 Gama missed in Game 1 and Deon Sterley provides the icing with 16 bench points. We get beat and beat badly and our series lead is cut in half. 2-1.
Final - Denver 86 Memphis 109

Game Four
It's a story we've seen written the past few years, needing to win a pivotal Game 4 on the road to put an opponent on the brink. The chapter's not pretty here, unfortunately, as Ronnie Fry continues to take advantage of Timmy B's injury, abusing us for 31 points. Narcyz Malinomowski bangs around inside for 31 points and 11 rebounds, Bernard Kelly cooly distributes 15 points and 13 assists and Deon Sterley and Lannce Dudley combine for 12 and 11 points off the bench. All we can do is waste 30 points from Mateen Yeaton and the first good bench showing we've all had series in Tzvetan Kishishev's 12 points. And just like that, it's all tied up at two games a piece.
Final - Denver 95 Memphis 120

Much to my surprise, there's no sweeps this season.

Game Five
Home's always a good thing and Tim Butler scores 20, thankful to be back in Denver. Justin Cherry rises off the bench for 27 points, but it comes at a terrible price. Four minutes into the game, Mateen Yeaton shatters his finger, breaking it in two places and ending his season. It's heartbreaking, just as gut-wrenching as the fact as we lose this momentum-changing game. Ronnie Fry (14 points, 14 rebounds), Narcyz Malinomowski (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Bernard Kelly (26 points, 10 assists) all double-double, while Durko Jagr exploits the rookie Cherry for 31 points. A six point loss, a 3-2 series deficit and our season appears as ended as Yeaton's.
Final - Memphis 110 Denver 104

Portland beats Golden State in 5 games, Atlanta puts away division foe Orlando and Cleveland pulls off an unexpected upset in knocking out the three-time defending East champion Raptors in five. To put this in a little more perspective, Toronto's been the East representive 7 of the last 8 years and I can't remember the last time they lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Justin Cherry gets his first ever NBA start in Game 6 and what a pressure-cooker situation for the rookie.

Game Six
Barring a miracle of epic proportions, our season ends here. No miracle here, as we get 15 points off the bench from David Jackson and 10 points and 13 rebounds from Andrew Bynum and that's it. Justin Cherry goes 3 for 4 for 10 points in 19 minutes in his starting debut, but he lands hard on his arm after a shot and has to sit out the rest of the game. In counterpoint, Narcyz Malinomowski scores 20, Ronnie Fry double-doubles for 17 points and 12 rebounds, all five Grizzlies starters score 13 or more and Bernard Kelly finishes us off with 22 points and 14 assists in front of a wildly cheering, standing ovation Memphis home crowd. Oh and Deon Sterley poured salt in our wounds with 10 bench rebounds.
Final - Memphis 97 Denver 77

It's a season for upsets, as the Knicks upend the heavily favored Bobcats in six and the Suns do the same to the Kings.

But the biggest upsets happen in the Game 7 finales, as 8 seed Boston stuns 1 seed Chicago and the two-time defending champion Dallas Mavericks go out in the first round to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Wow. Now I don't feel so bad about our own first round exit.

In the next round, the Traiblazers continue the unprecedented postseason by sweeping the Clippers, handing the Red and White another frustrating conclusion to their playoffs.

Atlanta beats Cleveland in five games and the way they're playing, they could be repeating their 2019 performance as the last non-Raptors East Conference representative in the Finals.

Phoenix furthers their dramatic turnaround by ousting the Grizzlies in six, the same margin the Knicks use to eliminate the Cinderella Celtics. How dramatic a turnaround is it? Last season, the Suns were 23-59. Their last winning season was all the way back in 2013 (43-39) and the last time they made the playoffs was 2010, when they won the Pacific with a 50-32 record. That's a 13 year playoff drought, one that frequently got glossed over because of Golden State and New Orleans.

The Suns destroy the Traiblazers hopes of finally reaching the NBA Finals by unexpectedly sweeping Portland. It's the first time since 2009 Phoenix is going to the Finals, where they lost in seven games to the Chicago Bulls. 2007 was the Suns' other Finals appearance since I joined the league and they swept the Bobcats for the title.

Atlanta blows a 3-1 series lead and the New York Knicks are in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1998 as they make the improbable comeback, storming for a Game 7 victory that sends the Big Apple into a frenzied celebration.

This sets up the lowest seeding Finals pairing since I've joined the league - 5th seeded New York versus 6th seeded Phoenix. Paradoxical as it may seem, I'm rooting for the Knicks. I mean, their lottery is what allowed me to even break in the business in the first place and I'd love to see Paulinho Buboltz get a ring. He's having a great postseason, averaging 17.1 points, 9.4 assists and 2.1 steals.

And Paulinho Buboltz gets his ring as the Knicks sweep the Suns in four games!!!

Pandemonium erupts in New York City with the Knicks' first championship since 1972. Wow, I can't believe it's been that long. They last won the title about seven seasons before I was even born (1979).

But won they have, ending a 52 year drought. I'm almost as excited about their victory as I would be with another championship for the Nuggets.

Almost.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:23 PM   #448
Izulde
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An Uncertain Offseason Ahead For Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets have been one of the league's most successful teams over the past fifteen plus years, thanks in large part to GM Jestor's shrewdness. But the man who built and re-built three championship teams around Mateen Yeaton may soon be out of a job after Denver's second consecutive first round playoff exit.

Even if owner Bob Neal keeps Jestor, Yeaton isn't certain to come back either. He's 35 and was last seen walking off the court in Memphis with a broken finger. Starting C Andrew Bynum is 37 and could retire as well. Then there's David "50 Ninja" Jackson, who complained about losing his starting spot after Jestor acquired Andy Sola at the trade deadline. Jackson's growing discontent and high salary for a reserve could see him moved from Denver for the second time.

The Nuggets also need to figure out if they believe Justin Cherry really is the next Yeaton. If they do, then they need to use their two upcoming lottery picks in the draft on a young C to replace Bynum and a young PG to eventually step in for Zelipe Gama. If they don't, then SG becomes another position they need to get younger at this offseason.

***End Article***

That's about right. Good writeup.

NBA Lottery

Thanks to my wheeling and dealing, we've got picks #4 and 5 currently, courtesy of the Heat and the Spurs. Big, big draft for me if I avoid the axe.

14. Philadelphia 76ers
13. Miami Heat
12. Minnesota Timberwolves
11. Houston Rockets
10. Detroit Pistons
9. Utah Jazz
8. Milwaukee Bucks
7. Indiana Pacers
6. Washington Wizards

YES!!!! Nobody beats the odds!!! We're guaranteed two Top 5 picks!!!

5. Denver Nuggets

Okay, I'm fine with that.

4. New Orleans Hornets (-1)

Success! We've crashed the Top 3!!

3. Denver Nuggets (+1)

2. Indiana Pacers
1. Seattle Supersonics

I really hope I stay on. It's going to be a hell of a fun draft from the fans of the two teams Mateen Yeaton's played for, as both we and the Pacers have two Top 10 picks.

Now if only the draft class doesn't suck like the last several have.

The most inactive lottery I've ever seen, by the way. Just one change in the pattern and it was us flip-flopping with the Hornets.

NBA Awards

MVP
Oswaldo Apolonario - Atlanta Hawks - 20.3 PPG 13.6 RPG 3.4 APG 1.0 BPG 0.8 SPG
Defensive Player of the Year
Dontay Williamson - L.A. Clippers - 14.8 PPG 14.3 RPG 2.1 APG 3.9 BPG 0.9 SPG
Rookie of the Year
Michael Woods - Phoenix Suns - 12.3 PPG 6.9 RPG 2.2 APG 0.7 BPG 0.7 SPG
6th Man of the Year
Roger Bohm - Golden State Warriors - 10.3 PPG 7.9 RPG 1.7 APG 2.1 BPG 0.6 SPG
Head Coach
Jim O'Brien - Denver Nuggets


Remember, we weren't expected to even make the playoffs this year and O'Brien led us to the #2 seed for the second season in a row. Great honor for him, though I'm sure he'd take further advancement in the playoffs over it.

Apolonario, you may recall, was someone I remarked in his draft as having franchise player potential, but extremely raw. He's certainly developed that potential and is a deserving MVP as he carried the Hawks to the Southeast division title and the second round playoffs, giving Atlanta its first true star since... well, Dominique Wilkins. Wow, that was a long time ago.

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Corey Neal - New Jersey Nets
SG Filip Mikulic - Houston Rockets
SF Devone Allen - Dallas Mavericks
PF Marcelino Augusto - Dallas Mavericks
C Oswaldo Apolonario - Atlanta Hawks

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Kenny Graham - Sacramento Kings
SG Charles Seegars - Chicago Bulls
SF Kevin Durant - Portland Trailblazers
PF Rashard Ferguson - Chicago Bulls
C Jonte Jones - Sacramento Kings

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG Bernard Kelly - Memphis Grizzlies
SG Jon Ward - Phoenix Suns
SF David Anyan - Toronto Raptors
PF Henry Fisher - Utah Jazz
C Narcyz Malinomowski - Memphis Grizzlies

Strange to see an All-NBA list without Mateen Yeaton anywhere, but a case can be made for all three players who finished ahead of. Justin Richler should've made it too, as the NBA scoring champion, but he got screwed over.

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Corey Neal - New Jersey Nets
SG Jon Ward - Phoenix Suns
SF Devone Allen - Dallas Mavericks
PF Marcelino Augusto - Dallas Mavericks
C Dontay Williamson - Los Angeles Clippers

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Paulinho Buboltz - New York Knicks
SG Sonny Boxler - Portland Trailblazers
SF Brian Brown - Golden State Warriors
PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Patrick Riley - New Orleans Hornets

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG Scott Miles - Boston Celtics
SG Wendel King - Cleveland Cavaliers
SF Jarod Jones - Milwaukee Bucks
PF Michael Woods - Phoenix Suns
C Scott Costello - Seattle Supersonics

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Chris Blackmon - Minnesota Timberwolves
SG Georgi Dimov - New Jersey Nets
SF James White - Philadelphia 76ers
PF Ryan Bush - Houston Rockets
C Terrance Frey - Miami Heat

King over Dimov for the first team? That's bullshit. Now, King over Justin Cherry I can understand, but there's no way in hell Dimov shouldn't be on the first team. I swear, the voters hate pointscorers.

Really illustrates O'Brien's rightful selection as Coach of the Year when we're shut out in the postseason awards outside of him for the first time since I've come to Denver. I'm glad to see Buboltz pick up a 2nd Team Defense award, though. Caps off a perfect season for him, in my opinion.

The day after the awards are announced, Bob Neal and I meet for a tense dinner at the local Italian restaurant.

He congratulates me on our playoff season, but informs me over our post-dinner wine that $9.8 million over the cap is not considered being close to the cap and that it's time the team goes in another direction, especially with my draft record and two Top 5 picks coming up.

I ask him for a little more time, because I really don't want to miss out on this opportunity. He agrees, but orders me to fire head coach Jim O'Brien as the price of my staying on.

It's going to be a public relations bloodbath, firing the Coach of the Year, but my hands are tied. I reluctantly agree to do it and while the news causes as big a furor as I expected, it's overshadowed by the Phoenix Suns firing their GM after an NBA Finals appearance one year removed from a 23-59 season.

Jim O'Brien accepts the news calmly, understanding that it's the owner, not me. I'm sure he'll end up coaching somewhere next season with his pedigree.

Carmelo Anthony retires, no doubt disappointed that the Knicks finally win a title after he's gone. He's a Hall of Fame inductee this year, along with Chris Bosh and Lebron James, who retire their jerseys with Toronto and Cleveland respectively. Evidently Chris Paul retired last season and made the Hall as well, but I missed it in all the hubbub surrounding my fired, re-hired saga.

Anthony decides to enter the Hall as a Knick after a week or so of speculation that he might don the Denver hat. I'm glad he chose that route, because I want our first retired jersey to be Mateen Yeaton's.

To give things a clean slate, I fire the rest of the coaching staff as well.

Bob Neal unfortunately doesn't sell the team, so I once again repeat the playoffs, about the cap line. He warns me to keep it truly near the cap, though just how we're supposed to do that with two top 5 draft picks and an unmoveable contract in Andrew Bynum, I don't know.

I engineer a three way trade to try and give us some cap room while upgrading the team.

Denver Nuggets receive
PF Clifton Snyder
SG Eric Bass
PG Waldemar Althusser

Miami Heat receive
PG Zelipe Gama
C David Jackson

Washington Wizards receive
PF Jeremy Bellairs
Minnesota Timberwolves 2025 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
26 year old German import Althusser has a game similiar to that of Louis Mertens, an electrifying passer with poor defensive skills. If Denver doesn't go for a PG in the draft, he's the probable starter, though GM Jestor would prefer him in the bench role that Mertens did so well in when he played for the Nuggets. Snyder is another 26 year old, a great all-around player with beautiful technical defensive skills, whom Jestor's been eying for quite some time. He'll slot in Jackson's old 6th man role and be more effective than 50 Ninja in some ways. Bass is roster filler that will never see the court.

What this means for the Heat
Miami now has 3 30+ ex-Nuggets slated to be starters in Gama, Jackson and Mike Vines. In terms of talent, the Heat improve dramatically, as Gama's passing and defensive skills make him a winner no matter where he goes and 50 Ninja is a fiery, solidly balanced player who can have big games from time to time. They've also got Mertens on their roster, making this team Denver South. The Heat are going to see a dramatically improved record next season, though it may not be good enough to challenge for a playoff spot. As a bonus, Jackson's an expiring $8.5 million contract after this season.

What this means for the Wizards
Ron McPherson is still out with a torn Achilles and it's not certain when he'll be able to come back. Bellairs is a respectable all-around 27 year old, but he never developed the killer instinct and go-to ability that some thought he would be when he was taken 6th overall by the Warriors in 2019.

Winner: Miami
The Heat take advantage of the Nuggets' desperation to slash payroll and pick up two players who will instantly make Miami competitive and Gama and Jackson's popularity, along with the better on-court product, will draw fans back in. Denver got pretty good return on this three-way deal, but Miami made out better, while Washington is going to miss Althusser's passing off the bench more than they realize and the Wizards no longer have an heir apparent to Leland Peterson.

That pair of deals brings us to just a hair over $3 million over the cap, which should give us just enough room to absorb our two draft picks' salaries and give us 13 players for the year. It means we won't be signing anybody in free agency and really puts the pressure on me to hit well in the draft, if not outright homeruns.

Coach Hiring

We jack one out of the park in landing Kurt Thomas as our new head coach at 4 years, $5 million a year. He's an excellent strategist and a far better scout and developer than Jim O'Brien ever was. The offense is going to look a -lot- different with him in charge, as he believes in speed, speed, speed.

Patrick Ewing returns to our staff for the third time, this time as the 1st assistant. Newcomer Bob Bender takes over as the 2nd assistant and Frank Vogel, another former Nuggets assistant, comes in as the 3rd man.

Jim O'Brien lands on his feet in New Jersey, where Tim Duncan shows off his shrewd GM skills again by snapping up O'Brien at just over $4 million a year for 5 years.

Mock Draft

We're picked to take SF Marcus Reeves, an Arizona senior at #3 and C Luke Smith, a junior from UConn at #5. Reeves doesn't impress me all that much, but Smith is 7'2, 278 lbs and I love 7 foot centers. In fact, if my inital impressions are correct, I could take Smith with the third pick.

There's a couple good point guards here as well---Tony Johnson, yet another Indiana Hooser, only he was a one and done. Tyrone Capel, a junior from Gonzaga, intrigues as well. Johnson's tabbed to go 7th to the Pacers, Capel 8th to the Bucks.

I'll also probably be taking a look at Michigan State freshman C Patrick Weston, who weighs in at 7'5, 290 lbs. Although he's picked to go the Rockets at #11 in most mocks, you can't teach size and that's one thing I'm really looking for, even though size might not be the best thing for the speed offense our new coach is looking to implement.

There's two fantastic 19 year old players at the top of the draft in SG David Johnson, a one and done UNC Tarheel, and Russian SG Vladimir Tupolev. They're both undersized 2s, but with the spate of successful small PFs in the league recently, most teams don't care about short players.

Lot of thinking to do. Like I said, I need to have the draft of my life here, or I'll be heading to the unemployment line.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:31 PM   #449
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I really hate your owner.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:32 PM   #450
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Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
I really hate your owner.

So do I... so do I.
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