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Old 01-19-2009, 01:59 PM   #501
rjolley
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If Tackett isn't ROY, there's going to be a small riot in Sacramento.

Any chance you could trade for Damian, since they don't value his scoring?
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:22 PM   #502
Izulde
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Coffee Warlord: Well, the way I see it, you have 3 candidates who have a case for ROY: Damian Thomas, who turned the Spurs from one of the absolute worst teams in the league in 59 starts (he broke his ankle in early March) to a still bad, but significantly improved team. Then you have Nochimas Eliashov, the 20 year old Latvian who will be a franchise player by the time he's fully developed. I mean, he started from Day One and averaging 16.8 points as PG/SG, mofo shot 51.6%. Then again, Tackett shot 50.2%, so who knows? It -should- by all rights go to Tackett, but you can make a case for all 3 guys.

rjolley: Funny, somebody else on the WS board alluded to the idea of my trading for Thomas. I'd love to, but the AI is extremely possessive of 5* players and 19 year olds and Thomas just so happens to be both.
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:10 PM   #503
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Kings Set To Take On Trailblazers

The top-seeded Sacramento Kings play the Portland Trailblazers in the first round, thus earning GM Jestor a date with his former team's biggest advesary the last few seasons in the Northwest.

Jestor's Denver teams lost in the first round the last three seasons and his first Sacramento Kings squad now seeks to break that one and done streak. Whether or not they can do it following a terriic regular season is open to question.

Point Guard
William Tackett vs. Jerian McCrary

Tackett has been the revelation of the season in this year's heralded rookie class. After looking so stellar in training camp that Jestor traded away favorite Zelipe Gama, the former LSU senior delivered beautifully, averaging 14.2 points, 12.7 assists and 1.1 steals in the regular season. That assist total was good for second in the league. An accurate shooter, he's a terrific passer, but sometimes gets caught trying to make too fancy a play and turns the ball over. However, he's weak on the defensive end, save for the ability to steal and McCrary should be able to score freely on him.

31 year old McCrary is a very good all-around guard and surprised by averaging 15.8 points and 10.5 assists during the regular season, showing passing skills previously unheard of. That said, he's still better suited to the 2 spot, though his 6'6, 224 lb frame gives him the type of muscle to challenge 6'4, 183 lb Tackett, particularly given his superior defense.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Sonny Boxler

At 37, Yeaton isn't the same player he was in his heyday. His 47.7% shooting was his worst since the 2011 season and he's much slower than he used to be, with particularly eroded defense. That said, to ignore him is dangerous, as he still averaged 13.5 points, a block and steal per game and has the size and veteran savvy to make life miserable for a loafing opponent.

It's a crime that the 27 year old Boxler hasn't yet made an All-NBA team, because he's the best all-around SG in the league, supplanting Yeaton in that role. He averaged 22.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 3.2 blocks and 1.3 steals in the regular season, numbers that should earn him MVP consideration, to say nothing of All-NBA honors. A dynamite scorer, good rebounder and passer and excellent defensive playmaker, a smart player can nonetheless score on him, as his technical defense isn't all that good. There's also some question how effective he'll be, given that he's still hobbled by a sprained ankle.

Advantage: Trailblazers

Small Forward
David Anyan vs. Kevin Durant

After his 23 point, 6.4 rebound, 1.2 block, steal regular season, nobody's going to argue that Anyan's still got it at 33 years old. One of the primary scorers on this Kings team, he was a brilliant free agent pickup who brings explosive scoring, great passing for a forward and ferocious defense, with no real weaknesses in his game.

Anyan's presence means a very tough draw for 36 year old Durant, who can still play at a fairly high level, illustrated by his 16 points, 6.6 rebounds and steal per game. Despite his impressive 6'10, 220 lbs frame, he never did develop the kind of shotblocking ability he should have and his defense is nowhere near the level it was. If he hopes to contain Anyan, he'll have to use veteran intelligence cultivated through his many years in the league.

Advantage: Kings

Power Forward
Antonio Sarchet vs. Charlie Joseph

The once-scorned trade for Sarchet is now being universally lauded as the 29 year old posted 19.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and a steal per game while serving as Sacramento's #2 option. He averages a breathtaking 60%+ shooting from the field, is a ferocious rebounder belying his 6'8, 239 frame and is underrated on the defensive end.

28 year old Joseph is listed as a C, but at 6'9, 264, he's comparatively short even for a PF. Not a scorer, but a great rebounder and a respectable defender, illustrated by his 9.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. He'll have his hands full containing Sarchet and indeed that will be his primary mission this series.

Advantage: Kings

Center
Greg Oden vs. Terrence Howard

Oden, the Kings' team captain, defies old age by still being one of the upper-echelon centers in the league. A defensive and rebounding beast, he can still bang it in from down low, as his 11.5 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks show. One of the most intelligent, most loved and hardest working players in the game.

33 year old Howard is all about the inside shot, averaging 14.9 points, 10 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in the regular season. A good rebounder, with blocking hops that one wouldn't expect out of his 6'10, 259 lb body. Not the best defender overall though and nowhere near as intelligent as Oden.

Advantage: Kings

Bench

Ronald King, who Jestor first became enamored with in Denver last year, has been a cheap, terrific scoring sparkplug off the bench, the first Jestor reserve to average double-digit scoring in the regular season (10.7 points). Brandon Edmond filled in for Oden after he was acquired from Memphis following Oden's injury early in the season. A great rebounder, defender and shotblocker who doesn't take a shot unless he's sure it'll go in, he averaged 8.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in split duty. Lost in Tackett's glow is fellow rookie Jim Johnson, who made incredible strides his first year, averaging 5.6 points, mostly off the bench. In fact, the 20 year old improved so much, he could be a starter as soon as next season.

Charles Howard could start for virtually any team in the league. He's a phenomenal point producer who plays excellent, tough defense and averaged 15.5 points and 1.5 steals. Chris Rein of the 5.5 points plays solid defense, but the Trailblazers don't have anybody on the bench who can rebound and recent D-League callup Jerry Floyd, while reportedly a promising reserve guard, particularly on defense, is untested.

Advantage: Kings

Final Thoughts

This series pits the Trailblazers superior backcourt against the Kings top-notch frontcourt and greater depth. Sonny Boxler's injury is going to have a definite impact on this series and if Sacramento can jump out to a fast start, this could be over in a hurry.
Prediction: Kings in 5

I'm surprised, but nonetheless pleased they're showing that much confidence in us.

Game One
We jump out to a 28-17 first quarter lead in front of an impassioned home crowd and never look back, our defense shutting the Trailblazers down. When Jerian McCrary is held to an 0 for 10 night, you know it's a rough one for Portland. Antonio Sarchet and Greg Oden turn in double-doubles of 18 points, 13 rebounds and 10 points, 11 rebounds respectively, William Tackett shows no rookie jitters in amassing 15 points and 10 rebounds and Ronald King leads the bench with 10 points. But the real story of this game was Mateen Yeaton shining through with his playoff form of old in scoring 22 points. Despite being held to 36.3% shooting as a team, Portland did get 23 points and 11 rebounds from Kevin Durant, 19 points and 12 rebounds from Terrence Howard and 12 bench points from Charles Howard.
Final - Portland 88 Sacramento 98

Game Two
David Anyan got mad after Kevin Durant stifled him in Game 1, so mad that he comes out roaring in Game 2, leading all scorers with 32 points. An awesome game by our reserves, highlighted by Ronald King and Brandon Edmond combining for 20 and 10 points a piece. Portland again struggled to put the ball in the basket, though Charles Howard did his best with a sensational 29 points off the bench.
Final - Portland 95 Sacramento 119

Game Three
A 2-0 series lead is precisely what I hoped for heading into Portland as I'm anticipating the Trailblazers will come ready to play. And indeed, Terrence Howard comes through with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Charles Howard continues his sterling series with 21 points. The Blazers also had their best shooting performance this round. But it wasn't enough, as David Anyan blasted the Blazers for 35 points, William Tackett issued 14 points and 14 assists and Ronald King matches Tackett's 14 points off the bench. Portland made one hell of a fourth quarter rally, but they fell just short and are now held by the throat, looking at a nearly impossible 0-3 series deficit.
Final - Sacramento 101 Portland 97

Game Four
A sweep would be sweet. Unfortunately, the Traiblazers force the game to a crawl, utilizing Terrence Howard inside to get 21 points and 16 rebounds and ride a balanced offense that we can't overcome. Not even with David Anyan's 20 points or Ronald King's Howard-esque 21 bench points. It's okay though, we've still got them at triple break point at 3-1.
Final - Sacramento 86 Portland 91

New Orleans's stay in the playoffs was a short one as the Suns swept them and Dallas didn't do us any favors by kicking out the Jazz in four games. The networks and the NBA brass are giddy over the idea of a Mavericks/Kings matchup next round. We have every intention of bringing them that ratings dream by closing out in Game 5.

Game Five
A sellout, high-decibel crowd on your side is always a great thing and we ride it to our biggest win of the series. William Tackett's the man of the night with 29 points and 12 assists, though it'd be unfair to gloss over Antonio Sarchet's 14 points and 10 rebounds or Ronald King's 20 bench points. Terrence Howard fought courageously for 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Blazers reserves Charles Howard and Chris Rein scored 17 and 13 points a piece. But when just two Portland starters score in double-digits, the chances of continuing the series are rather slim, especially on the road. So it's precisely as predicted, a Game 5 victory. The champagne bottles are popping everywhere in television studios and league headquarters, for the sexy ratings round is secured.
Final - Portland 95 Sacramento 127

Boston puts away Milwaukee in 6 games and Atlanta eliminates the two-time defending East champion Knicks in the same time span. But the biggest story of the series decided in six is Memphis's stunning upset of the heavily favored Timberwolves. There's just something about that Grizzlies team that makes them turn it on in the first round. I hope they can do the same thing to Phoenix, who scares the hell out of me.

Toronto needs all seven games to escape the Nets, but the same fate doesn't smile upon the Cavaliers, who are upset by the Bulls in the deciding Game 7. We could very well see an all-Atlantic, all-Pacific pair of conference finals.

But first we have to get past a Mavericks team thirsty for our blood and that's going to be the most difficult challenge we've faced all season.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:14 AM   #504
RedHawk00
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Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
There will be killing if Tackett isn't ROY.
I am with CW
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:03 PM   #505
Izulde
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Originally Posted by RedHawk00 View Post
I am with CW

I don't even want to think about the firestorm that's going to erupt if Tackett loses ROY now.
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:11 PM   #506
Coffee Warlord
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Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
I don't even want to think about the firestorm that's going to erupt if Tackett loses ROY now.

He didn't win ROY! Fire Jestor!
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:21 AM   #507
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Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
He didn't win ROY! Fire Jestor!

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Old 01-23-2009, 02:59 PM   #508
Izulde
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Mavericks-Kings Renew Old Augusto/Yeaton Rivalry

One is 27 and in the full bloom of his basketball career. The other is 37 and in his twilight.

But both Marcelino Augusto and Mateen Yeaton are the type of legendary player that comes along once in a generation, storied athletes whose careers have become so closely affialiated with a team's that you can not talk about one with the other.

And so there's Augusto, winner of 2 MVP awards and four rings, two a piece with the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks. It is he who is the primary reason why the Mavericks now have two trophies, whereas before there were none.

And Yeaton, whose 2 MVP awards are of the Finals variety, a clutch cavalier who won the hearts of a nation with his incredible shooting and quiet, understated demeanour off the court. 3 rings, all with Denver.

Both men have their name writ larger over the contemporary basketball award landsape and no doubt both will be enshrined in the Hall when their retirement day comes.

But they are linked by the Augusto-initated power struggle over who was the #1 option on offense and who was the face of the Nuggets. But it was not Yeaton who responded to Augusto's challenge.

Instead, it was then-Denver Nuggets GM Jestor who sided with Yeaton, shipping out his own hand-picked #1 overall selection and franchise future to the Mavericks for Jonte Jones, who then in turn led the Nuggets to their straight championship.

Now, despite the fact that the purple and grey of the Sacramento Kings is donned and their career stages are as disparate as can be, the rivalry resumes.

On Augusto's side, fellow superstar Devone Allen, who defers readily to the Brazilian, and a third scorer in Jeremy Leach.

Standing with Yeaton, old men and former Raptors in David Anyan and Greg Oden, members of the Toronto teams that year in and year out challenged Yeaton's Nuggets for supremacy in a friendly, respectful rivalry that became this generation's Celtics/Lakers.

This will be an intense, personal, heated series. Augusto has already vowed to take out the Kings Jestor has crowned, while Anyan retorted by saying this is time for the best of the Raptors and Nuggets dynasties to come together to bring Sacramento its long-dreamt of title.

Point Guard
William Tackett vs. Devone Allen

The rookie Tackett looked anything but a first year in the first round, putting up a sensational 17 points, 10.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks and showing a gorgeous consistency that even further cements his status as the biggest draft steal in years. So what if his technical defense is suspect? He's an out and out playmaker and a gifted one at that, in addition to being a natural floor general.

He'll have his hands full against the towering 6'8, 218 lbs Allen, who, believe it or not, has the passing skills to do an adequate job at PG despite being a natural SF. The postseason has borne this out, Devone averaging 16.5 points, 10 assists, 4.8 rebounds, a steal and 3 blocks a game in the first round. Simply put, there are no weaknesses in Allen's game and he's an MVP candidate in his own right, even if he is playing out of position. He'll be looking to shut down the hot rookie this series.

Advantage: Mavericks

Shooting Guard
Mateen Yeaton vs. Jeremy Leach

Age has taken its toll on the 37 year old Yeaton and nowhere was that more evident than the first round, when he shot 41% for 13 points and 1.2 blocks. It was his worst playoff outing since 2021, when he shot 41.3%. Fortunately, he's not required to be Sacramento's top gun.

Leach, 33, was part of Yeaton's Nuggets for an offseason, but before playing a single game for Denver, he was dealt to the Mavericks in exchange for a package including Zelipe Gama, Jestor's favorite PG before the rise of Tackett. A defensive liability, but one who scores enough and accurately enough to make up for it. 17 point average in the first round, the only noteworthy statistic. In short, he's a shooter and nothing more.

Advantage: Mavericks

Small Forward
David Anyan vs. Brad Smalls

Anyan continues to erase all doubt that he needs Justin Richler to be an elite-level player. He had a sensational opening round against Portland, averaging 23.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks. A shut-down defender and a prolific, accurate scorer who can rebound and pass some, he's the total package.

Smalls really struggled in the opening round, shooting just 38.6% for 10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks. He isn't likely to have much better luck against the imposing Anyan, who plays much bigger than his 6'6 hieight, particularly since Smalls is only 6'7 himself. That said, the 26 year old is an excellent ballthief. On the other hand, it's quite easy to score on him, which is worrisome for Mavericks fans given the matchup.

Advantage: Kings

Power Forward
Antonio Sarchet vs. Marcelino Augusto

As we've said before, they're not scorning the Sarchet trade any more. The 29 year old has been a sensational #2 scorer and rebounder for the Kings and he carried that tradition over in the first round, averaging 15.4 points and 9.2 rebounds. Merely an average defender, though. Sacramento really needs him to step up his scoring this series since Tackett is liable to get shut down by Allen.

22.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks. That first round line pretty much says it all about Augusto. One of the best all-around players in the NBA and annual MVP candidate. Like Anyan, he has no real flaws and the battle between he and Sarchet will go a long way to predicting the winner in this one.

Advantage: Mavericks

Center
Greg Oden vs. Morris Allaway

Oden played at such a high level during the regular season in spite of his 37 years that it was shocking to see him post just 7.6 points in the first round. While that also came with 12.8 rebounds, a steal and 2.2 blocks, it's a reminder of just how diminished the multi-MVP award winner is at this point in his career. That said, to ignore his importance as a top-level rebounder and defender would be foolhardy and he should be able to find ways to contribute more on offense this round.

Particularly since Allaway is a run-of-the mill player in every aspect, including defense. That's not to say Allaway's a terrible player--he isn't, as his 9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 3 starts following Tyrone Dotson's ankle injury testifies. It's just that he's not good, either.

Advantage: Kings

Bench

What a revelation Ronald King has been for the Kings! After a terrific regular season, he averaged 17 points off the bench in Round One, providing instant offense. 7'1, 304 lbs Brandon Edmond continues to be the big body inside, averaging 5.6 points and 7 rebounds. Both players have been solid defensively as well, even if they don't have the flashy numbers to show for it.

David Tucker has been lights out so far this postseason, averaging 16.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and a steal. Not a good defender, however. T.J. Roberts has the ability to make a bucket from all different ranges and is averaging 5.3 points. Tyrone Dotson is hampered by his ankle injury and will be relegated to bench duty to start the series. Averaged 4.5 points and 8 rebounds in the first round. The Achilles heel for Dallas: They have no defensive stoppers on the bench.

Advantage: Kings

Final Thoughts

The starting five overall seems to favor Dallas, but with the exceptional one-two punch of King and Edmond and the great matchup Sacramento has in Anyan on Smalls, it's just too close to call. That said, Augusto takes it to another level against Yeaton/Jestor teams and Yeaton is no longer who he once was. In a series like this, that makes the difference.
Final Prediction: Mavericks in 6

Can't say I fault them their thinking. This is going to be a brawl and a half.

Game One
The home crowd was absolutely stoked for the opening game and purple and grey were in abundance everywhere. So, too, were the Mavericks' Big Three and they played brilliantly. Jeremy Leach scored 27, Marcelino Augusto added 24 points and Devone Allen doubled for 24 points and 12 assists, looking just like a real PG. David Anyan and Antonio Sarchet responded with 25 points and 21 points and 13 rebounds respectively, but it was our bench that carried us to the clincher. Ronald King and Brandon Edmond each scored 12, with Edmond making it a double-double by tacking on 10 boards. A key victory and a solid win to start things off.
Final - Dallas 97 Sacramento 112

Game Two
Looking at the scoreline, you wouldn't think we won all four quarters, but we did. Antonio Sarchet stepped up yet again with 23 points and 12 rebounds, David Anyan scored 21, William Tackett broke through the Devone Allen vice for 17 points and 15 assists and Ronald King chimed in with 15 bench points. Really rough outing for Marcelino Augusto, held to just 10 points and so Jeremy Leach's 21 points and David Tucker's 14 bench points just didn't cut it. I'm ecstatic with our 2-0 series lead, not the least of which because I think we're really going to need that cushion heading into Dallas.
Final - Dallas 94 Sacramento 106

Game Three
I'm hoping to do one thing in Dallas and that's steal a game. It doesn't happen in this one, though, as the Big Three and a Fourth come through for the Mavericks with 20+ points. Marcelino Augusto scores 27, Devone Allen scores 24, Jeremy Leach contributes 20 points and David Tucker explodes off the bench for 22 points. We can't match that, not even with David Anyan's 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists, William Tackett's 10 points and 11 assists and Brandon Edmond's near bench double of 12 points and 9 rebounds. The scoring just wasn't there tonight. More worringly, Tyrone Dotson is now fully healed and back in the starting lineup.
Final - Sacramento 102 Dallas 126

Game Four
Much, much closer game. David Anyan scores 25, Greg Oden wakes up for 10 points and 16 rebounds, William Tackett generates 17 points and 11 assists and Ronald King scores 12 points off the bench. Things are looking hopeful when we hold Devone Allen to 10 points and 10 assists and bench outings of 16 and 12 points a piece from David Tucker and Morris Allaway, but then Marcelino Augusto takes over and singlehandedly pulls this to an even series with 40 points and 13 rebounds. Now we're all tied up and the war rages on. Damned shame because I really thought we could take this one.
Final - Sacramento 101 Dallas 110

No sweeps to speak of, so on we soldier.

Game Five
A must-win because I don't think we can take the Mavs in Dallas to force a Game 7 if we lose here. Marcelino Augusto ramps up for 27 points and 10 rebounds and Morris Allaway is near-perfect with 11 bench points. But then we fire back with a quartet of 20+ point scorers of our own, imitating Dallas's Game 3 outing. Antonio Sarchet regains his comfort level at home with 23 points and 12 rebounds, David Anyan stays consistent with 21 points, Mateen Yeaton comes alive for 20 points and William Tackett plays magnificiently in netting 22 points and 15 assists. Ronald King paces the bench with 13 points and we leave Sacramento with a hammering 20 point win and the all-important 3-2 series edge.
Final - Dallas 103 Sacramento 123

Boston spoils Oswaldo Apolonario and the Hawks' dreams by beating them in five. Everyone else is going on to a minimum of six games.

Game Six
The arena is deafening here, as the partisans want their beloved Mavericks to stay alive. But our defense says hell no to that and all the Mavs can muster is Marcelino Augusto's 22 points. We, on the other hand, watch gleefully as Antonio Sarchet snaps the road curse for 27 points, David Anyan piles on 23 points and 12 rebounds and we get a pair of double-doubles from Greg Oden (10 points, 12 rebounds) and William Tackett (10 points, 10 assists). A brilliant win and it's oh so satisfying to see the miserable faces of the Mavericks faithful. Sweet, sweet Schadenfreude!
Final - Sacramento 99 Dallas 83

Our series win isn't without cost, though. Mateen Yeaton, Greg Oden and Jim Johnson are all dinged up with injuries. If we had to play today, Oden would start, but Yeaton would sit on the bench in favor of Ronald King. We'll see how everyone's feeling at the start of the West Conference Finals.

The remaining two series go to a seventh game and the Raptors complete a miracle comeback, going from down to 3-1 to charge back and take the series over the Bulls. Meanwhile, the defending champion Suns barely escape the Grizzlies in Game 7.

And so we've got precisely the All-Atlantic, All-Pacific Conference Championship matchups I realized could happen after the first round. Makes sense, because those were the two best divisions in the league this season.

It's going to be a brutal matchup for both us and Toronto, both of whom rely on veteran players as opposed to the relative youth movements of Boston and Phoenix.

But the flickering hope is still there to again play the team I both have the most admiration for and consider my biggest archrivals, no matter whether I'm in Denver or Sacramento.
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:24 PM   #509
RedHawk00
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wow, fully expected to Marcelino to thwart your new team's destiny...

grats
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Old 01-24-2009, 01:44 PM   #510
Izulde
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Originally Posted by RedHawk00 View Post
wow, fully expected to Marcelino to thwart your new team's destiny...

grats

Thanks. I thought he'd do the exact same thing, but fortunately we won out.
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Old 01-24-2009, 03:01 PM   #511
Izulde
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I was hoping Memphis would beat Phoenix, so we could keep our revenge theme going, but it simply wasn't meant to be. Instead, we get the team that beat us repeatedly throughout the year, the full-strength defending NBA champions who also happen to be two-time defending West Conference champions. It's going to be a nasty test, even tougher than the Mavericks.

Rather than the full article, I'll just post the position by position breakdowns.

"Point Guard
William Tackett vs. Jon Ward

Despite going against a much bigger, shut-down defender in Devone Allen last series, Tackett still played quite well against Dallas and has postseason averages of 15.8 points, 11.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks. He'll need to maintain that stellar level if the Kings want to make their first-ever Finals trip.

Ward is an absolutely amazing scorer and defender, averaging 15.1 points, 4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.6 blocks in the playoffs. That said, he's a terrible starter to put at PG, as he has nowhere near the ballhandling skills needed to effectively run an offense. Not that that's stopped the Suns any.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Ronald King vs. Rudolf Zyndram

King has been an incredible reserve for the Kings this season, both in the regular season and the playoffs, where he's averaging 13.9 points. He's starting because of Mateen Yeaton's hamstring injury, but it may be a blessing in disguise because he plays better technical defense. The jury's out on him as an effective starter, though.

The Polishman Zyndram has turned this playoffs into his own personal party, averaging a blistering 27.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.1 blocks. As his statline suggests, he's an exceptional all-around player, the kind with no weaknesses and a true MVP candidate. It's Zyndram who's the reason why the Suns got this far and they'll need him to stay hot to make a third straight Finals trip.

Advantage: Suns

Small Forward
David Anyan vs. Matt Michaels

Anyan's numbers of 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks may not be as sexy as Zyndram's, but Anyan plays much better suffocating, frustrating defense, even though they're both superlative all-around players who are the key to their mutual teams' successes.

32 year old Michaels has had a frustrating postseason, shooting just under 40% for his 11.8 points and 1.5 steals. Terrible defender who's going to get eaten alive by Anyan and will see his shooting woes continue against his primary opponent. Don't expect him to be a factor in this one, unless it's a negative.

Advantage: Kings

Power Forward
Antonio Sarchet vs. Michael Woods

Sarchet's value continues to be underrated by most people, even though he's putting up 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds in the playoffs. It's true that he won't ever be a great defender or even a good one, but he did a good enough job on Marcelino Augusto last round for the most part and the Kings will expect him to do the same here - score, rebound and play adequate defense. Certainly a far cry from the Emeka Okafor days.

Woods is one of three Top 2 picks on the Suns roster, Ward and Zycham being the other two. He's also the youngest at 23 and is in his third season in the league. Although he's improved each year he's been in the league, he still hasn't grown into his massive talent and thus, despite sterling scoring and shooting ability and average to good everywhere else, he's still only averaging 12.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and a steal in these playoffs. This position battle is the most engimatic one of them all and it's too close to call.

Advantage: Draw

Center
Greg Oden vs. Chris Adams

Oden's just been sitting back this postseason and letting others handle the scoring while he works on rebounding and defense, as evidenced by his 8.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.9 blocks. That's the role he'll be taking on this series as well, although his effectiveness will be limited by a calf strain.

Fortunately for Kings fans, Adams is a rebounding specialist who plays okay D and takes a few safe shots and that's it: 8.1 points, 10.8 rebounds for the playoffs. A much-diluted version of Oden in that regard.

Advantage: Kings

Bench

Mateen Yeaton's on the bench, but he's traditionally been very ineffective while injured. But perhaps that will open up more time for Justin Cherry, who was a phenom as a rookie with the Denver Nuggets, but has had trouble finding PT since then. Brandon Edmond is the safety valve inside with 7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks as a balanced, all-around type of reserve.

Filip Svorda was once rumored to be a GM Jestor trade target and the Czech has been terrific off the bench, averaging 10.8 points, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals as a deadly shooter, passer and ballthief. Ronell Jones, a defensive specialist and another Jestor trade prospect, gets enough minutes to average 7.6 points and while Milan Nouge never lived up to the hype that made him the #3 overall pick, he's been devastating off the bench, averaging 6.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 blocks as Phoenix's top big man.

Advantage: Suns

Final Thoughts

It's been a great story this season in Sacramento, but the book closes for the Kings right here. Phoenix is far too deep for the Kings to match them, especially with two of Sacramento's starters hobbled by injuries and the Suns will march on to their third straight Finals for a shot at a repeat. In short, it's another chapter of heartbreak waiting to be written for the Bay area.
Prediction: Suns in 5

I'm not surprised, really. Especially not with the way they manhandled us down the stretch, like I said.

Game One
David Anyan puts up 27 points and 13 rebounds, William Tackett chips in 15 points and 13 assists and Brandon Edmond and Justin Cherry each score 12 off the bench, but it's nowhere near enough as Jon Ward fires for 26 points, Rudolf Zyndram tacks on 21 points, Chris Adams doubles for 12 points and 11 rebounds, Milan Nouge just misses a bench double with 8 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks and Filip Svorda torches us for 19 points off the bench. We could've won this game, if Antonio Sarchet hadn't pulled a disappearing act and if Ronald King came even remotely close to approaching his earlier reserve boosts, but instead, it's a 10 point home loss and dismal start to the series.
Final - Phoenix 117 Sacramento 107

Game Two
Short and simple, we get smashed. Jon Ward scores 23, Chris Adams nabs 16 points and 10 rebounds, Ronell Jones adds 14 points off the bench and all five Suns starters score 11 or more. In contrast, we get 24 points from David Anyan, an ugly 11 assists and 12 turnovers from William Tackett and 13 bench rebounds from Brandon Edmond. I think you can call our goose cooked right now.
Final - Phoenix 102 Sacramento 78

Game Three
The Suns are just too fucking good. Jon Ward and Rudolf Zyndram combine for 24 and 20 points and Ronell Jones leads the bench with 14 points. We do a little better this time, with David Anyan's 25 points and 12 and 10 points from reserves Jim Johnson and Brandon Edmond, but it's still a slaughter to go down 3-0.
Final - Sacramento 98 Phoenix 120

Game Four
I'm just waiting for the axe to fall, especially after Rudolf Zyndram torches us for 37 points and Jon Ward adds 25 points of his own. But then a funny thing happens. Antonio Sarchet finally snaps out of it and scores 30 points, David Anyan plays a steady second with 25 points, William Tackett recovers from his Game 2 embarassment with 11 points and 12 assists and Brandon Edmond scores 14 off the bench. We ride those performances and a second quarter surge to stave off the sweep by just four points, giving us a very faint flicker of hope.
Final - Sacramento 108 Phoenix 104

Game Five
An energetic, pro-Kings crowd just can't save us. Rudolf Zyndram scores 30, Michael Woods breaks out for 19 points and 10 rebounds, Milan Nouge has 12 points and 9 rebounds off the bench and Filip Svorda adds on 11 points as well with the reserves. We tried, but David Anyan's 26 points, Antonio Sarchet's pre-fouling out 19 points and 10 rebounds, William Tackett's 12 points and 12 assists and Brandon Edmond's 10 bench rebounds don't cut it and we get massacred to bow out. So here's another sad verse in Sacramento's song.
Final - Phoenix 110 Sacramento 88

The Raptors very nearly blow a 3-1 series lead, but they escape with a victory in Boston for Game 7.

I call Sam Mitchell and Bryan Colangelo and wish them luck, but even they can't stop the juggernaut that's the Suns and they cede Phoenix's repeat title in five games.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:14 PM   #512
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
There's a great pleasure in the slaking of thirst and a soda is delicious when you've gone months without having one. In my student days, I loved Crystal Pepsi (both for the name and the taste), Mountain Dew and its orange and grape offspring, Livewire and Pitch Black, and Surge. My two, brief graduate years, I developed an absurd fondness for Dr. Pepper, which I drink now as I record my notes from the pre-draft part of the offseason.

NBA Lottery
14. Indiana Pacers
13. Los Angeles Clippers
12. Charlotte Bobcats
11. Detroit Pistons
10. Washington Wizards
9. Seattle Supersonics
8. Houston Rockets
7. Philadelphia 76ers
6. Minnesota Timberwolves
5. Miami Heat (-1)
4. Los Angeles Lakers (-1)
3. Orlando Magic (+2)
2. Golden State Warriors (-1)
1. New Orleans Hornets (+1)

Amusing. It appears that Denver doesn't have a 1st round pick, though I forgot precisely who I shipped it off to and for what.

NBA Awards

MVP
Marcelino Augusto - Dallas Mavericks - 24.8 PPG 9.3 RPG 3.0 APG 2.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
Defensive Player of the Year
Patrick Riley - New Orleans Hornets - 15.6 PPG 11.1 RPG 2.2 APG 3.5 BPG 1.0 SPG
Rookie of the Year
William Tackett - Sacramento Kings - 14.2 PPG 12.7 APG 2.9 RPG 0.9 BPG 1.1 SPG

6th Man of the Year
Phillip Smith - Boston Celtics - 8.4 PPG 7.5 RPG 1.5 APG 2.2 BPG 0.5 SPG
Coach of the Year
Sam Mitchell - Toronto Raptors

The media closes ranks and votes Tackett Rookie of the Year in a landslide, for they were just as outraged over the All-Star incident as we were. It's a happy note for Sacramento after our disappointing defeat to the Suns one stop shy of the NBA Finals.

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 Oswaldo Apolonario - Atlanta Hawks

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Kelvin Johnson - Toronto Raptors
SG Filip Mikulic - Houston Rockets
SF Vinston Henry - New Orleans Hornets
PF John Walker - Boston Celtics
C Patrick Riley - New Orleans Hornets

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG Caleb James - Charlotte Bobcats
SG Sonny Boxler - Portland Trailblazers
SF David Anyan - Sacramento Kings
PF Rashard Ferguson - Chicago Bulls
C Scott Palmer - Utah Jazz

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Corey Neal - New Jersey Nets
SG Jon Ward - Phoenix Suns
SF Vinston Henry - New Orleans Hornets
PF Chris Borman - Atlanta Hawks
C Patrick Riley - New Orleans Hornets

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG David Cormier - New Orleans Hornets
SG Sonny Boxler - Portland Trailblazers
SF David Anyan - Sacramento Kings
PF Deon Sterley - Memphis Grizzlies
C Dontay Williamson - Los Angeles Clippers

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG William Tackett - Sacramento Kings

SG Nochimas Eliashov - Golden State Warriors
SF Russell Sims - Seattle Supersonics
PF Mekeli Lane - New Jersey Nets
C Ryan Crews - Memphis Grizzlies

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Dondrell Wilder - Denver Nuggets
SG Kent Wallace - Boston Celtics
SF Kenneth Towns - Minnesota Timberwolves
PF Jim Johnson - Sacramento Kings
C Chris Moss - Detroit Pistons

Wondering where Damian Thomas is? He was declared ineligible by virtue of being in the D-Leagues at the end of the season. Sucks to be him.

I'm extremely pleased with our accolades this season, I have to admit. Seeing Vinston Henry and Patrick Riley winning those awards and leading New Orleans to their first playoff berth since I've been in the league makes me curious to remember the particular deals I made to ship them to the Hornets.

Quote:
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.

Funny how accurate the writeup turned to be concerning the Hornets, who turned into precisely that three years after the trade, just as the article said. That 2023 pick turned out #3 overall, which I used to select Wendel King, who was later traded for Justin Cherry, whose exploits I've chronicled fairly well I think.

While searching my notes for that trade, I also came upon this little gem in 2022, the year before the Henry/Riley for Butler/1st round package.

Quote:
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.

Spot-on with King, as it turns out. Harrell, by the way, hasn't turned into a special player and is currently miscast as the Lakers starting PG.

Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard retire and are inducted in the Hall of Fame. I don't see Howard as a Hall of Famer, but he is and the Orlando Magic retire his jersey. I'll list all the retired jerseys when Mateen Yeaton decides to hang it up, which isn't going to be this season, it turns out.

Will Langhi and I have a very pleasant meal as he notes how pleased he was that I was able to keep the salary cap number to around $500k over the cap and take us to the West Conference Finals. I caution him that we should temper our expectations next year for just a playoff appearance and he says that's fine, so long as I keep the payroll down to just above the cap.

Despite mounting pressure to sell the team, Bob Neal stubbornly hangs on to the Nuggets. Yeah, good luck on keeping that investment successful, buddy.

I decide to retain all of the coaching staff following our run last year, though we could stand to upgrade. I'm a big believer in not messing with success.

Mock Draft
With everyone and their mother aware of our weakness at C, we're tabbed to take 23 year old University of Arizona senior C Mike Miller at #21, a muscular 6'10, 280 lb defensive and shotblocking specialist. He's jumper-prone, though, which makes me hate him. With the 27th pick, we're slated to take an undersized Indiana senior C Antonio Alston.

While I agree the greatest value late in the first tend to be the seniors that everyone overlooks (like William Tackett), neither of these guys impress me as being that type, especially not Alston. Besides, we have other needs to fill, like SG and finding an heir at SF for David Anyan, though Jim Johnson could fit in the latter, Ronald King in the former.

Although there's allegedly four players with 5* potential in this draft, I really only see it in 19 year old Kansas Jayhawk PF Billy Barrett and 20 year old SG Dorien Fletcher out of Illinois, who are tabbed to go #2 and #1 respectively.

I'm intensely intrigued by 22 year old Polish SF Ireneusz Kawcyznski, who's picked to go #7 to Philadelphia, but my gut feeling says he may drop into the range where we might be able to trade up for him. 23 Russian SG Vladimir Raschupuchin interests me as well, and he's picked for 12th to Charlotte.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:42 AM   #513
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
It's a terrible draft for centers, so awful outside of the top ones that are going to be taken far too early that I don't even bother scouting any. That means we'll have to explore free agency or the trade market.

On the other hand, there's a few swingmen that have captured my interest, so we'll see how things shake out. On an ominous note, one player I coveted turned out to be even better than advertised and his draft stock has shot up so high, he could now go #1 overall.

2026 NBA Draft 1st Round
1. SG Dorien Fletcher - New Orleans Hornets
2. PF Billy Barrett - Golden State Warriors
3. PG John Nixon - Orlando Magic
4. PG Greg Horan - Los Angeles Lakers

I try my best to jump up and grab the Heat's pick, but they're not having any of it. That spells doom for my hopes of getting the player I most want in this draft I fear.

5. SG Vladimir Raschupuchin - Miami Heat

And there he goes. Miami just got themselves a guy who will invoke memories of Nigel Abel in terms of his scoring ability. What an incredible steal for the Heat.

6. C David Carrington - Minnesota Timberwolves
7. SF Luke Biggery - Philadelphia 76ers
8. SF Ireneusz Kawcyznski - Houston Rockets

Now we reach a tough decision after the two players I valued most highly go off the board. There's only one player left I really like, but he's not worth trading up into the Top 10 for, I don't think.

9. PG Cory O'Brien - Seattle Supersonics
10. C Korey Andrews - Washington Wizards
11. PG Andre Channing - Detroit Pistons

It's now that I'm starting to get nervous, so I call up the Bobcats and send them picks #21 and #27 for #12, #42 and their 2027 and 2028 2nd round picks.

12. SG Nyah Boyce - Sacramento Kings

J.P. calls the pick a great move, while Chris is a little cool on it. From our workouts, Boyce really stood out as a lockdown defender type, even if he won't ever make the highlight play. Also a pretty good scorer from what we saw of him and his 6'4, 221 lb frame, while smaller than I prefer my 2s to have, isn't horrible or anything.

Even better, we scooped the Clippers, who wanted him in the worst possible way.

13. PG Travon Hester - Los Angeles Clippers

It's amazing how grief leads to idiotic decisions. Dumb move by the Red and White here.

14. SG Adam Clayton - Indiana Pacers
15. PF Ron Echols - Portland Trailblazers
16. SG Sean Jordan - Denver Nuggets
17. PF Joel Greer - Golden State Warriors
18. SF Mike Reyes - Memphis Grizzlies

A steal by the Grizzlies here. Not quite on the William Tackett scale, who also went #18, but a great late find nonetheless.

19. C Ed Rabey - San Antonio Spurs
20. SG Corey Duke - New Jersey Nets
21. PG Joe Richardson - Charlotte Bobcats
22. SF Ricardo Wethers - Utah Jazz
23. PF Kevin Williams - Atlanta Hawks
24. PF Dwayne Soward - New York Knicks
25. SF Gerard Dudley - Denver Nuggets

Really nice selection by the Nuggets. I would've probably taken him at #21 if I'd have kept the pick.

26. SF Steven Harris - Phoenix Suns
27. SG Adrian Wilson - Charlotte Bobcats

That's exactly who I would've taken if I still had this selection. Sensational pickup the Bobcats and one I wholeheartedly approve of. Oh, a cool fact that flashed on the screen during this pick: Justin Barnes, the Kings face for so many years, was taken 12th overall in 2015. While I hated his low shooting percentage, I'd be ecstatic if Byce turned into that type of point-scorer.

28. PG Coray Grove - Cleveland Cavaliers
29. PF Tayshaun Blackwell - Toronto Raptors

Rebounding and defensive specialist. Nice value selection by the Raptors.

30. SG Kevin Reece - Boston Celtics

Any time you get a 6'8 guard who averaged 20.8 points a game in college with the last pick in the first round, you know you've got yourself a steal. Some fine late drafting in the first round by a few teams.

It's the first time in years any of my teams has had a second round pick, so I forget we even have one and take a nap, figuring I'll watch the second round later. I wake up only when my assistant shakes me, urging me to hurry up and make the pick before our time expires.

I quickly glance at the available players and take senior PF Ervin Brown out of Stanford. Should be a smart player, coming from that school and the coaching staff thinks he's raw, but underrated.

Nyah Boyce looks disappointing immediately after the draft. A lockdown defender yes, with great work ethic, but he doesn't appear to have a scorer's instinct. Maybe he'll improve with time, though. Ervin Brown demonstrates why I always trade away 2nd round picks by looking blah.

I renounce all our expiring contracts, largely to put us over the cap by $14.1 million, though you can be damned sure I'm bringing at least one of those players back.

Summer League
SG Nyah Boyce
PF Jim Johnson
PF Ervin Brown

A thrilling, back-and-forth duel sees us prevail over Milwaukee 104-101 to open summer play. Nyah Boyce pumps in 26 points, Scott Miles impresses with 17 points and 10 assists and Joey Riggs scores 13 off the bench.

Tariel Abashize, who got taken the pick before Jim Johnson last year and who I so wanted very much, drops 24 on us and we lose 99-87 to the Wizards and get completely shut down.

Frustrating 98-97 loss to the Spurs despite Nyah Boyce's 22 points. Jim Johnson has looked horrible all summer long and I'm seriously contemplating trading him, even if he is battling a banged up knee.

102-89 loss to the Jazz guarantees a losing season, which isn't something that happens often to my summer teams. Nyah Boyce continues to impress with 20 points, while reserves Joey Riggs and Aaron Jones score 14 and 12 points.

Our furious fourth quarter rally falls just short, 101-100 in Toronto. Scott Miles was our best player with 20 points, though Jim Johnson did score 19 on 9 of 12 shooting.

I have a chat with the Wizards on the eve of free agency about Tariel Abashize, but they have no interest in dealing him without getting major, major return on their investment. There is, however, another player I want that they're much more amicable about parting with. Unfortunately we can't -quite- close the deal unless we include Jim Johnson, which despite his poor summer showing, I'm not ready to do just yet.

Free Agency
This is one of the worst crops since I've been in the league. Vinston Henry is one of the top players on the market, which says everything you need to know. Charles Diggs, who I kind of like, is out with a torn ACL. I'd personally rate Freddie Tackett as the best player available. He was a long time developing, but when he finally did, he started becoming one of the most underrated forwards in the league. Still is, in my opinion.

Or maybe it's not so bad. There's Kelvin Johnson, who'll command big money after having been a key part of the Raptors' Finals run and perenially All-NBA (though very overratedly so) Rashard Ferguson, along with Bernard Kelly, the greatest passer I've seen since the days of John Stockton. And let's not forget John Walker, recent All-NBA man for the Celtics.

Lee McRae and Scott Palmer are the top two Cs available, with most favoring Palmer over McRae.

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I decide that neither one is worth the kind of big money they're looking for and instead throw my big money contract at a player I was always puzzled got the fat deals he did, but the more and more I look at him, the more and more I realize Terrence Howard is a good fit for us.

We re-sign Mateen Yeaton and Brandon Edmond, both of them taking salaries of under $1.5 million. Edmond we lock up for 4 years at $1.16 million a year approximately. It's the kind of low-risk, multi-year contract I secured Tzvetan Kishishev with and I love it.

Terrence Howard signs a few days later for 2 years, $9.75 million a year. He's undersized at 6'10, 259 lbs, but there wasn't really anyone else I felt was worth the money to be our starting center. Greg Oden's little more than a good backup at 38 years old since he can't contribute any kind of offense anymore and Howard, while not an exceptional defender, does all right at it and can rebound, block shots and shoot over 60%, similiar to Antonio Sarchet.

I'm wrestling with the idea of what to do about Jim Johnson. He showed so much improvement over the course of his first season and yet, he really flamed out this summer. On the other hand, he has pretty good work ethic, so maybe it was just a fluke.

Jeez, the Jazz are stacked at C with Scott Palmer and Marcus McKie. In a league where fives are once again at a premium, thats an untold wealth of riches.

Ultimately, I just can't do it. I just can't bring myself to trade Johnson. Not even for Tariel Abashize. He's a player I drafted, he shot the ball damned well his rookie year and he showed remarkable strides. So I'm going to treat the summer league as just him being rusty, foolish though that may be in the end. Hell, I can't even trade him for Andre Moore.

What I can do, however, is this:

Sacramento Kings receive
PG Troy Collins

Dallas Mavericks receive
PF Lawrence Smiley
PF Ervin Brown
Charlotte Bobcats 2027 2nd round pick
Charlotte Bobcats 2028 2nd round pick

What this means for the Kings
The 24 year old Collins is a project, but one who has the potential to develop into a very good all-around pass-first reserve guard, just the kind that GM Jestor likes. Shedding Smiley's $4 million salary gives the Kings more cap room to play with as well. Expect to see more playing time for Jim Johnson and Tzvetan Kishishev as a result.

What this means for the Mavericks
Smiley's a solid all-around veteran forward with an emphasis on defense and careful shot selection. He's also an expiring $4 million deal for next year. Nobody in this league works harder on his game and Dalas will be very happy to bring in the 32 year old, who got crowded out at the end of the year in Sacramento by Johnson and Brandon Edmond. Brown is second round roster filler.

Winner: Draw
Both teams benefit significantly from the deal. Jestor gets the backup pure point guard he wanted and a lot more cap space, while Smiley is a huge improvement to Dallas's bench as it stands. Whether or not that'll hold through the rest of free agency remains to be seen.

The first big move in free agency happens when Kelvin Johnson signs with the Magic for 5 years, $61.2 million. Well, second big move, as our grabbing Terrence Howard got a lot of headlines.

We -just- miss out on Nigel Abel, who spurns our $4.7 million one year deal to sign with the Raptors on a mid-level exemption on the same day that Johnny Willias goes to the Celtics for 4 years, $24.7 million and Ronell Jones goes from the two-time defending champion Suns to the Bobcats for 5 years, $32.3 million.

Despite our disappointment, we recover by bringing Mike Vines back to the team that originally drafted him on a one year, $3 million deal. Despite the fact that he's 37 and not as good he once was, he's still a phenomenal defender who can put points on the board. The fans are absolutely ecstatic to have him back and his #53 jerseys come out in full force when the news breaks.

Greg Oden goes to the Cavaliers for a year, $2.88 million deal and we end free agency a few days after that by signing Justin Cherry to a 5 year min-sal contract. Even if he sits on the inactive list the whole time, I'll have peace of mind just having him under contract.

13 players signed and we're still $1.65 million -under- the cap. I could spend it, but I decide to bank it in case I feel trading later on.

Training Camp

Jim Johnson showed marginal improvements, but Troy Collins actually took a step back. Sadly for Johnson, he has to fight Mike Vines and Brandon Edmond for playing time.

Unfortunately, no one was willing to take on Edmond's contract and despite exhaustive attempts to rid ourselves of Nyah Boyce, who looked more and more like a mistake every time I watched him, it was nothing doing.

The Clippers, despite their struggles last season, were picked as preseason West favorites, although they didn't really scare me like they used to. Houston was tabbed #2, which I could see, though it was really the projected 3 seed Suns who worried me the most, even though they no longer had Ronell Jones. As for the Kings, they had us slated for second to last in the conference. Whatever.

Chicago was favored in the East, which was a joke and the Pacers were marked second, which isn't nearly as stupid as it sounds. David Johnson looked like a surefire 20+ point per game scorer. The only question mark for Indiana really was their defense. Boston at #3 was reasonable, Toronto at #12, third from the bottom in the conference, was just as stupid as picking us for 13th of 14 in the West.

Sacramento Kings 2026 Opening Day Lineup
PG William Tackett
SG Mateen Yeaton
SF David Anyan
PF Antonio Sarchet
C Terrence Howard
6th Brandon Edmond (SF/PF/C)
7th Mike Vines (SF/PF/C)
8th Ronald King (PG/SG/SF)
9th Jim Johnson (SF/PF/C)
10th Nyah Boyce (PG/SG/SF)
11th Troy Collins (PG/SG)
12th Tzvetan Kishishev (SF/PF/C)
Inactive
Justin Cherry (PG/SG/SF)
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:49 AM   #514
JonInMiddleGA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
12. SG Nyah Boyce - Denver Nuggets

Umm ... acid flashback?
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:40 AM   #515
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
Umm ... acid flashback?

I've done the same thing with the past two years of postseason write ups, too. Fortunately I've caught myself up until now.
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:00 AM   #516
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Truth be told, I have no real idea just how good this team is. I feel like we're deeper than we were last year, but by the same token, I don't know how much faith I have in our starting five to be as good as last season.

We get our first indications in a road doubleheader to start the year. A wild shootout in Dallas turns into an all four quarters 134-109 Kings victory powered by 26 points from David Anyan, 24 points and 17 rebounds from Terrence Howard, 16 points and 13 rebounds from Antonio Sarchet, [b]William Tackett[/b['s 14 points and 20 assists and Ronald King and Brandon Edmond pumping in 24 and 18 points a piece off the bench. We beat the Spurs 110-100 the next night as Terrence Howard continues to play early dividends with a mesmerizing 25 points and 22 rebounds and Ronald King and Jim Johnson lead the second team with 16 and 15 points respectively. Troy Collins got the surprise start at SG after Mateen Yeaton banged up his shoulder.

Our first loss this season comes early, a 115-104 defeat to the Rockets. Antonio Sarchet does well with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Terrence Howard posts 14 pointss and 12 rebounds, William Tackett produces 10 points and 11 assists and Ronald King and Jim Johnson again pace the reserves with 20 points and 10 points, 9 rebounds respectively, but Troy Collins has only made 2 baskets in his two starts and I'm tempted just to trade him.

And in fact, that's precisely what I do.

Sacramento Kings receive
PG Jameel Williams
Denver Nuggets 2027 1st round pick
Utah Jazz 2029 1st round pick

Utah Jazz receive
PG Troy Collins
Sacramento Kings 2027 1st round pick

What this means for the Kings
Williams is a smart, veteran pass-first PG who's played for a GM Jestor team before (2021-2022 with the Nuggets). Not a scorer, but cheap and an adequate backup floor general. Collins's departure also means Ronald King as the starting SG until Mateen Yeaton recovers from a shoulder injury. And of course, two first rounders for one is always a great deal.

What this means for the Jazz
Collins joins a fairly crowded Utah backcourt and while he's a good, balanced young point who seeks out the pass first, Damien Ohl is only a tiny bit worse than him and they're the same age. Not only that, but 25 year old Bill Esherick is a SG good enough to be the first guard off the bench, including at PG. A puzzling move for the Jazz, especially considering we think the Kings are severely overlooked this season.

Winner: Sacramento
Jestor just robbed the Jazz blind and Utah's going to be feeling the heat from their fans, especially if the Nuggets and Kings repeat their respective seasons from last year.

Robbed them indeed. I think Kevin O'Connor was having a senior moment when I called him, but that's what you get for having a 74 year old man as your GM.

Our next doubleheader's a sweep, including our first home game of the year, a nice 97-86 victory over the Raptors keyed by a 35-23 fourth quarter and William Tackett's 30 points. Antonio Sarchet and Jim Johnson play the support roles with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 14 bench points respectively. We head to Seattle the next night to beat the Sonics 102-95, riding a balanced offense. David Anyan (18 points, 10 rebounds), Terrence Howard (16 points, 12 rebounds) and William Tackett (17 points, 14 assists) provide the double-double fun, while Jameel Williams chips in 10 bench points.

Heartbreak tortures us in Phoenix, as our fourth quarter comeback bid falls just short in a 112-110 loss. David Anyan scores 25, Terrence Howard pulls down 16 points and 11 rebounds, William Tackett puts up 12 points and 20 assists and Jim Johnson leads the bench with 12 points, but it's just not enough. We console ourselves the next night by beating up the Nuggets 114-99 in front of our own home crowd. All five of our starters score 11 points or more, led by William Tackett's 26 points and 13 assists and Jameel Williams is a pleasant surprise again with 16 bench points.

The Bulls hammer us hard in the fourth quarter, putting us on the wrong end of a 112-104 scoreline. Disappointing, but not unexpected as Ronald King had an off night on 2 for 7 shooting, digging us a hole that not even Terrence Howard's 16 points and 15 rebounds, William Tackett's 16 points and 14 assists or Jim Johnson's 16 bench points could bail us out of. I'm also concerned about David Anyan, who's shooting a horrific 33.1% so far.

Defense carries us in a 100-79 victory over the Grizzlies. David Anyan leads in scoring with 28 points, but he shoots 23 times and only hits 9 to do it. William Tackett doubles for 21 points and 11 assists, while Jim Johnson hauls in a pair of 11s in points and rebounds off the bench.

We beat the Bucks 112-100 the next game, but have to rely on a 32-17 fourth quarter to do it. David Anyan and Antonio Sarchet post near identical double-doubles at 26 points, 10 rebounds and 25 points, 10 rebounds and William Tackett's not far behind with 22 points and 11 assists. Terrence Howard may have cooled off from his early season form, but he still adds in 13 points and 11 rebounds and Jim Johnson is the top bench scorer with 10 points.

I take great delight in our 118-88 demolition of the Rockets, revenge for our first loss of the year. Mateen Yeaton's back to full health, but Ronald King continues to start. David Anyan scores 26 in this one, Terrence Howard doubles for 16 points and 12 rebounds and Mike Vines thrills the home crowd with 13 bench points.

David Anyan may be struggling to shoot accurately this year, but I'm still loathe to move him as I really like him and his defense is a valuable asset. He nets 16 points and 13 rebounds in our 114-99 win over the Lakers, but the best players for our side were undoubtedly Terrence Howard with 26 points and 12 rebounds and Antonio Sarchet with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Anyan's performance was more on the level of William Tackett's 14 points and 12 assists. Mateen Yeaton and Jim Johnson combine for 12 and 10 points off the bench.

Our winning ways continue as David Anyan drops 32 points on the T-Wolves as we overcome a slow start on the defensive end to edge out Minnesota 114-105. Ronald King scores 20 and Jim Johnson leads the second unit with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

100-83's the final, another win for us, in Memphis on the front end of a doubleheader. Balance gets the victory, headlined by Terrence Howard's 16 points and 14 rebounds, William Tackett's 10 points and 15 assists and Jim Johnson's magnificent 19 points and 12 rebounds off the bench on 9 of 10 shooting. I have no doubt he'll be a starter for us at some point in his career. Even more impressive is that he did it with a sprained finger. New Orleans has definitely turned themselves into a legit playoff team, as we end the month with a disappointing 96-75 stinging at the hands of the Hornets. David Anyan scores 20, Antonio Sarchet picks up 12 points and 12 rebounds, Terrence Howard 11 points and 17 rebounds, but when our starting backcourt combines to go 4 for 20 on the night, it's really tough to win. Jameel Williams did just miss a bench double with 10 points and 9 assists, though.

Still, I'm not complaining one bit. Not even when 11-4 has us 3 games behind the 14-1 two-time defending champion Suns in the Pacific. The West is a real dogfight in the early going this year and I'm stunned to see 8-6 New Orleans tied atop the Southwest with 9-7 Dallas. .500 is good enough to lead the Northwest, with Minnesota and Utah deadlocked there. Denver's in last place, but only 2 games back at 5-9.

Out East, 11-3 Boston and 10-4 Atlanta are warring for the top spot, but don't discount 11-6 Toronto at a game and a half back. Chicago's leading the Central at 8-4, but it's just a half a game in front of the Bucks. And yes, it's still early, but I'm still impressed by Miami's 9-7 record. They've righted the ship in a hurry there, thanks to smart drafting and promoting a harmonious existence between Victor Gipson and David Jackson by starting both. Funny how those two were both drafted by me and they've been teammates on 3 teams: Denver, New Orleans and Miami. Although 50 Ninja likes to bitch about Gipson stealing his PT, I think the two are closer friends than either one would admit to. At least Jackson, anyway. Gipson would probably confess to liking 50 Ninja, who I miss.

But that said, I love this Kings team I've put together, though it does make me sad to see Mateen Yeaton on the bench. He's quietly expressed some frustration with his lack of playing time, which I understand. At the same time, he's become one of those great legends who's hung on for just a year too many through sheer love of the game and, additionally in Yeaton's case, he wants to be part of the team that brings the Kings their first ever championship, but he also wants to be a significant part of that team.

At 38, this is probably his final season.

So we need to do everything we can to try and win a ring this year. For Sacramento and for my favorite player of all time, playing out the last thread of an illustrious career.
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:08 PM   #517
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Detroit Pistons receive
SG Edmond Ford

Indiana Pacers receive
PG Andre Channing

What this means for the Pistons
Ford, 24 and in his second season, is an extremely accurate shooter for a guard, with nice ball skills for a two and plays very good defense. Although he's on the Pistons bench at the moment, he has the talent to be a starter someday, particularly given that Galen Drayton is 31.

What this means for the Pacers
The rookie Channing is a completely non-descript player with some defensive ability and a career D-Leaguer. We're completely mystified as to what Pete LaBraggio was thinking.

Winner: Detroit
Awful trade for Indiana and just when it looked like the Pacers were finally on the rise again.

This level of quiet stuns me, but I'm sure things will pick up steam as the season wears on.

December starts with a cheerful 125-103 pounding of the Pacers captained by David Anyan and Terrence Howard with 26 and 24 points a piece. William Tackett issues 16 points and 14 assists and Jameel Williams and Mike Vines highlight the reserves with 15 and 10 points respectively.

Boston's impressive record doesn't faze us in the least as we stomp the Celtics 119-98. David Anyan rips free for 33 points, Antonio Sarchet bangs inside for 29 points and 11 rebounds, Terrence Howard picks up 16 points and 13 assists, William Tackett has 10 points and 12 assists and Jameel Williams nets 10 bench assists of his own.

After so many fourth quarter comebacks this year, we were bound to let one slip away and a 22-14 fourth quarter fritters away our lead and dooms us to a 94-91 loss to the Bobcats. So much for Antonio Sarchet's 24 points and Mike Vines's 17 bench points.

That loss took a lot of our passion out as we play flat the next two games, dropping both games of a road doubleheader. Minnesota topples us 100-87 as we can't manage much more than Terrence Howard's 14 points and 19 rebounds and the Pacers pay us back with a 116-92 embarassment, despite Terrence Howard's 22 points and 17 rebounds and 10 points a piece from reserves Nyah Boyce (on 3 for 3 3-point shots in 4 minutes) and Mike Vines. Jameel Williams also put in 10 bench assists.

A 40 point fourth quarter bails us out and stops the bleeding with a 113-105 win in Milwaukee. William Tackett leads the surge with 22 points and 10 assists, David Anyan scores 23, Antonio Sarchet and Terrence Howard both grab double-doubles of 19 points, with Sarchet nabbing 13 boards, Howard 10. Jameel Williams paces the bench with 10 points.

We rip apart the Lakers 125-79 in one of our most complete wins to date. David Anyan and Antonio Sarchet combine for 26 and 24 points, William Tackett serves up 16 points and 12 assists and Jameel Williams and Mateen Yeaton finish things off with 16 and 10 bench points.

The Hornets go cold and we get hot in our 119-85 dismantling of them. Terrence Howard brings in 22 points and 13 rebounds, William Tackett nets a pair of 12s in points and assists, Jim Johnson garners 16 points and 13 rebounds off the bench and Brandon Edmond's his reserve assistant with 10 points.

A slow start condemns us to a 113-106 defeat by the Wizards, as 24 points from David Anyan, 20 points and 10 rebounds from Terrence Howard and Jim Johnson's 11 bench points aren't enough or us to break through.

Tariel Abashize did get traded after all, shipped from the Wizards to the Heat and it's Miami we play the next game. Fortunately, we prevail 102-94 on Antonio Sarchet's 23 points, William Tackett's 12 points and 14 assists, Terrence Howard's poor man's 10 points, 10 rebounds, Jameel Williams's 12 points and 10 assists off the bench and his second man Jim Johnson, scoring 13 of his own.

David Anyan (22 points, 11 rebounds), Terrence Howard (17 points, 15 rebounds) and Jim Johnson (10 bench points) ensure that it's a merry Christmas in NorCal by conspiring to beat Golden State 94-83. Even given the ridiculously hot Suns, I'm still pretty happy with how the season's going.

We come back from the holiday break to thump the Jazz 111-96. David Anyan scores 26, Ronald King finally wakes up with 21 points and Terrence Howard pulls down 18 points and 11 rebounds.

2026 ends with a titanic 28 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks from David Anyan and 15 points and 13 rebounds from Terrence Howard in our easy 100-78 win over the Spurs.

If we were in any other division in the West, our 20-8 record would be good enough for first place. But we're in the Pacific, where Phoenix leads us by 5 games at 26-4 and the Clippers are nipping our heels at 19-10.

Houston's half a game in front of Dallas at 17-14, while the Hornets have crashed hard at 11-17, dropping from first to fourth in one month's time. Minnesota's restored respectability to the Northwest, 16-12 good for a game lead on Seattle. Denver's nightmare season continues at 8-22.

24-6 Boston has an astounding 7 game lead on the Knicks in the East and it's pretty much a dogfight everywhere for the second best team at this point. 16-11 is enough for Chicago to stake a game claim on the Cavs in the Central, while 16-13 Atlanta fends off Charlotte and Washington by two games.

I won't post Mateen Yeaton's numbers, other than to say that he's averaging a lowly 2.8 points a game.
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:19 PM   #518
Autumn
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How is Ronald King doing starting over Mateen? I say nary a mention of him at all, he seems like a nonfactor out there.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:42 AM   #519
Izulde
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Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
How is Ronald King doing starting over Mateen? I say nary a mention of him at all, he seems like a nonfactor out there.

12.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 48.8% shooting.

He is what he is; not a lights out scorer, but a steady contributer who you know what you're going to get out of him on any given night because he's that consistent.

Obviously he's best suited to a bench role, but he's not a bad starter by any means.
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:30 AM   #520
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Milwaukee Bucks receive
C Eugene Whitmore

Toronto Raptors receive
SF Willie Larson
Milwaukee Bucks 2027 2nd round pick

What this means for the Bucks
Milwaukee needed a bench big who could play C and the 36 year old Whitmore more than capably fills that role. A shotblocking specialist and 7'3, 300 lbs, he's good enough at rebounding and scoring to be a valuable reserve. His expiring contract is also $500k more than Larson's.

What this means for the Raptors
Larson can play all five positions on the floor, but he's average in every single area of the game and he's not going to get any better at 35 years old.

Winner: Milwaukee
Toronto doesn't have a good bench C now and the Bucks do. The 2nd round pick won't be worth much, especially since this deal could help push Milwaukee to the Central division crown.

Miami Heat receive
SF Tariel Abashize

Washington Wizards receive
PG Tony Johnson

What this means for the Heat
The Estonian Abashize will be a franchise player someday, but the 19 year old isn't there yet. That said, he goes from being a reserve with the Wizards to a starter with the Heat and Miami now has an absolutely scary lineup for the future: Teddy Harriman (25), Vladimir Raschupchin (23), Abashize (19), Chad Dobbins (26) and Victor Gipson (30). Dobbins is the weak player in the link, but it's still a frightening starting five, one that foreshadows a rise as meteoric as that of the Suns.

What this means for the Wizards
21 year old Johnson will be good someday, but never great and certainly not on the level of Abashize. Leland Peterson and Bernard Legans have a stranglehold on the starting guard spots and so Johnson will continue to come off the bench. If he stays chained, he may never reach his full potential, though he obviously has a lot of years to go yet.

Winner: Miami
What a sensational past couple of years it's been for the Heat as they've got their front office sorted out and are one of the most promising young teams in the league. They get another piece of the puzzle here and the Wizards fans should be calling for blood.

New Jersey Nets receive
SF Chauncey Harris

New York Knicks receive
PG Sam Hamilton
New Jersey Nets 2027 1st round pick

What this means for the Nets
Harris may be 22 and able to play every spot but C, but he has no upside to speak of and is completely nondescript. On the other hand, he's extremely accurate in shooting in the limited number of minutes he's been given his first two and a half seasons in the league. Just one of many versatile bench players, only a young one.

What this means for the Knicks
33 year old Hamilton is a pretty good backup guard, just enough to be better than average. Of course, the real story here is the 1st round pick, which is looking like a mid-round selection at the moment.

Winner: New York
The first rounder tilts this one heavily in favor of the Knicks, as we actually like Hamilton better talentwise than Harris. Major overpayment by the Nets here.

Milwaukee Bucks receive
SF Ladrick Battle
Toronto Raptors 2027 2nd round pick

Toronto Raptors receive
PG R.T. Williams
PF Maurice Young

What this means for the Bucks
Milwaukee and Toronto complete their second trade of the month and the 26 year old Battle has some scoring and rebounding bench pop, but doesn't look like he'll ever be more than a respectable 6th man SG/F type. Still, there's value to be had in that.

What this means for the Raptors
Williams is terrible and will be out of the league by the time his rookie contract ends and Young fits the same bill.

Winner: Milwaukee
What's going on with Bryan Colangelo? That's two trades this month he's been swindled by the Bucks. Does Milwaukee have some blackmail goods on him? This is puzzling to see from a franchise normally known for its shrewd moves.

Milwaukee Bucks receive
PG Mark Martin

New York Knicks receive
SG Michael Blunt
Toronto Raptors 2027 2nd round pick

What this means for the Bucks
Martin can't play defense worth a lick, which is what chains him to the 12th man role, but as a scorer and passer, he's respectable enough as a reserve.

What this means for the Knicks
Blunt never was any good and at 36 years old, that isn't about to change. Even with Toronto's implosion, we're not so sure the 2nd rounder is worth it.

Winner: Milwaukee
Martin makes a better insurance policy at guard than Blunt and that's what decides this drab deal.

...And there was the flood of trades I'd been expecting. I'm still in amazement and disbelief over the Abashize/Johnson trade. What a perfect situation for my favorite Estonian to fall into, a starting spot with an upcoming team.

2027 begins with a split decision in a road doubleheader. We beat the Knicks 94-80 on Terrence Howard's 20 points and 11 rebounds, William Tackett's 19 points and 10 assists and Jim Johnson's 10 bench points, but the Raptors show they're not dead yet, spanking us 122-105. David Anyan whistled up 24 points against his old team, Terrence Howard put in 16 points and 11 rebounds, William Tackett got 15 points and 14 assists, and Jameel Williams scored 13 off the bench, but when Justin Richler slashes us for 39 points, that's hard to overcome.

Another nomad's back-to-back, another split. 108-101 win over Atlanta thanks to David Anyan's 35 points, William Tackett's 18 points and 13 assists and Jameel Williams's 10 bench points. But the Hornets continue to plague us, beating us 117-105 the next night as William Tackett's 18 points and 14 assists and Mike Vines and Jim Johnson combining for 11 and 10 points with the second team aren't enough.

I'm getting a little sick of Ronald King's inability to do much in games, so I go looking for a replacement. It doesn't take me long at all to find it.

Sacramento Kings receive
SG Nigel Abel
Toronto Raptors 2028 1st round pick

Toronto Raptors receive
SG Ronald King
PG Jameel Williams
SG Nyah Boyce

What this means for the Kings
GM Jestor is gunning for a title -NOW-, in what is likely Mateen Yeaton's last season. Enter Abel, his rival in scoring for years and one-time teammate. Don't let the fact that he's 36 or that he's only averaging 6.6 points a game fool you. Abel can still bring on the points, play solid defense and handle the ball. He was just backlogged in Toronto by Justin Richler. As for the first rounder, who knows what it'll be next season? Also, more playing time just opened up for Justin Cherry, a Jestor favorite.

What this means for the Raptors
Toronto cut Williams, who then re-signed with the Kings, so this becomes a matter of King and Boyce. King, who electrified and impressed people as a reserve with Denver and Sacramento, petered out as a starter in Sacramento. In Toronto, he'll return to his bench role, where he'll be an instant, consistent jolt of offense. How big a bust is Boyce as a rookie? So big the #12 overall pick got cut immediately after the trade as well. Whoever picks the rookie up will get a great defensive stopper at a cut-rate price of just under $400k.

Winner: Sacramento
Jestor fleeces the Raptors here, essentially turning this trade into King and Boyce for Abel and a 1st round pick. If he wanted to, he could make it an even bigger rout by returning his drafted rookie, but that would mean Mateen Yeaton's being moved to the inactive list, which he reportedly refuses to allow. What's even more amazing is that the Kings are just $295k over the cap despite the moves.

And that, boys and girls, is why I saved our cap space for a trade rather than blow it all in free agency.

Ironically enough, we play the Nuggets next and get off to a bad start, down 29-19, but we chip away at that lead and come back to win it 104-96. Despite our new addition, it's the usual suspects that lead us, as David Anyan scores 22, William Tackett doubles for 16 points and 12 assists and Jim Johnson zooms off the bench for 18 points, the same total scored by Nigel Abel in his Kings debut.

We crush the Jazz 110-79 in the next game on David Anyan's 24 points, Antonio Sarchet's 10 points and 10 rebounds, William Tackett's 15 points and 14 assists and Tzvetan Kishishev's 12 bench points. Nigel Abel repeats his 18 point performance, by the way.

Nigel Abel breaks the 20 point barrier in his third game with us at 22 and we steamroll the Clippers 109-81. David Anyan adds 16 points and 10 rebounds, Antonio Sarchet nets 14 points and 15 rebounds and Jim Johnson and Jameel Williams ignite the bench with 20 and 12 points respectively. Hell of a game by Dontay Williamson I have to say: 10 points, 22 rebounds and 8 blocks.

For the first time in the new year, we sweep a doubleheader. The revenge-minded Clippers go down in Los Angeles 114-110 as Nigel Abel shows he's still got, blistering the Red and White for 39 points. David Anyan scores 21 and Jim Johnson doubles for 15 points and 14 rebounds off the bench. The Traiblazers can't even make it a game the next night, blown out 106-85. David Anyan scores 27, William Tackett takes in 24 points and 13 assists, Terrence Howard squeezes in 13 points and 10 rebounds and Jim Johnson paces the bench with 11 points.

The Cavaliers throw everything they have at us, including Greg Oden at PF, but it doesn't matter. We beat them 123-114 as 4 Kings hit 20+ points: William Tackett (26), David Anyan (24), Antonio Sarchet (20) and Jim Johnson (22 off the bench). Throw in Terrence Howard's 13 points and 10 rebounds and Jameel Williams's 10 bench assists and you've got a tour de force that could challenge even the mighty Suns.

San Antonio has been hell for us ever since they got Damian Thomas, but while he blitzes us for 42 points, all five of our starters combine to form an unstoppable unit, a basketball Voltron, if you will, in our 120-103 win. David Anyan scores 28, Antonio Sarchet has 21 points and 13 rebounds, Terrence Howard grabs 20 points and 12 rebounds, Nigel Abel scores 24 and William Tackett forms the head with 14 points and 16 assists. I have to say, this is one of the most enjoyable games I've ever watched, either in Denver or in Sacramento and the DVD of this one is one I'll be playing repeatedly through the years.

The Nets come to town determined to rid us of our hot streak, but we outlast them to take it 126-116 in overtime. Antonio Sarchet's the man of the evening with 27 points and 14 rebounds, but David Anyan scores 21, Terrence Howard gathers up 17 points and 12 rebounds, Nigel Abel scores 23, William Tackett picks up 12 points and 10 assists and Jim Johnson roars off the bench for 17 points.

Our umpteenth road back-to-back this season? No problem! David Anyan not only scores 24 against the Spurs, but he does a great job in limiting Damian Thomas to 15 points on 5 of 15 shooting. Terrence Howard gets a double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds and Jameel Williams leads the second team with 13 points as we top San Antonio 110-95. David Anyan buries the Rockets for 35 points in our 127-100 win, the support provided by Terrence Howard (21 points, 14 rebounds) and Nigel Abel (23 points).

But despite our winning, I can't be wholly happy. Mateen Yeaton hasn't gotten much playing time and a lot of games, he doesn't even see the floor, which is making him miserable. So I call Andre Miller and ask him, over the next month, to give Mateen some more minutes. He's dubious about it, but accepts my wishes.

We then lose our first game since the trade, 108-95 on the road against the Timberwolves. Antonio Sarchet scores 22, Nigel Abel 20 and we get doubles out of Terrence Howard with 10 points, 10 rebounds and William Tackett with 15 points, 13 assists and Jim Johnson's 10 bench rebounds... but I'm afraid Mateen Yeaton's going 1 for 8 had a fair bit to do with the loss.

Still, we had a 10 game win streak after acquiring Nigel Abel, so I obviously did something right.

Despite a growing sense of worry on my part for meddling, we win both games of the concluding back-to-back and comfortably so. 113-92 over Seattle on David Anyan's 25 points, Terrence Howard's 20 points and 12 rebounds, William Tackett[/b]'s 21 points and 11 assists and Jim Johnson's 16 bench points. Golden State gets knocked down 110-90 as Antonio Sarchet scores 24, Terrence Howard snags 20 points and 13 rebounds and Jim Johnson again highlights the reserves with 18 points.

So Mateen Yeaton is happy again and at 34-11, we're just 1.5 games back of the 37-11 Suns. More importantly, we've put a 6 game distance between us and the Clippers. Dallas has firmly asserted themselves as masters of the Southwest, 27-17 providing them a 6.5 game lead on the Hornets, while Seattle is a shocking 30-14, 7 games ahead of the Timberwolves. Denver's 17-29, good for last in the Northwest, but not by much and nowhere near the worst in the West (9-36 Golden State).

Boston still holds court in the East at 36-10, leading the Atlantic by 7 over the Raptors, who are scorning everyone who left them for dead after their recent trades. 26-18 Cleveland leads the Pistons by 2 games, while the Hawks are riding Oswaldo Apolonario to a 27-17 record and 4 game lead on the Bobcats.

Oh and as for Miami's resurgence? Not happening. They've fallen to 17-30. Still, I have hopes for the Heat over the next few seasons. They've done a great job of laying the groundwork.

As for Nyah Boyce? He got picked up by Atlanta and is the Hawks' 7th man. Way to land on your feet, kid.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:27 AM   #521
Autumn
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I suspected you were one starting SG away from heating up. I'm glad you made the move. Hopefully Yeaton will get some rust out of his system and work back in the rotation too.

Still no playing time for Cherry? Poor kid's going moldy.
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:58 AM   #522
Swaggs
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Basketball Voltron, eh?
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:41 AM   #523
Coffee Warlord
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What picks do you have at this point again? You bounce around 1st rounders like nobody's business, hard to keep track of where you might be picking.

Last edited by Coffee Warlord : 01-28-2009 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:13 PM   #524
JonInMiddleGA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffee Warlord View Post
hard to keep track of where you might be picking.

Like he's going to keep that pick anyway

Where does Jestor draft? Wherever he wants.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:17 PM   #525
Coffee Warlord
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Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
Where does Jestor draft? Wherever he wants.

...and then trades whoever he picks for more picks he won't keep.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:36 PM   #526
Autumn
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One of these years he's going to hold every pick in the draft.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:37 AM   #527
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Autumn: Cherry's been getting some minutes, but he isn't as aggressive a shot-taker as he was in his rookie year, which is really strange, but also really damn cool from an engine development perspective. And yeah, I'm really, really glad about bringing Abel in.

Swaggs: Yup! My fave series as a kid and still one of my faves. But the -real- Voltron, not that lame futuristic Voltron rot. Princess Allura was my first love, geeky as that sounds.

Coffee Warlord:

2027 Draft
Denver Nuggets 1st round pick

2028 Draft
Toronto Raptors 1st round pick
Sacramento Kings 1st round pick

2029 Draft
Utah Jazz 1st round pick
Sacramento Kings 1st round pick
Sacramento Kings 2nd round pick

JonInMiddleGA: Well-played! On both counts.

Coffee Warlord: Ouch! Great return

Autumn: Now I would -love- to figure out a way to pull that off.
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:53 AM   #528
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Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
Now I would -love- to figure out a way to pull that off.

Thus ensuring it'd be the crappiest crop of potential draftees in league history
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:00 AM   #529
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
Thus ensuring it'd be the crappiest crop of potential draftees in league history

Yeah tell me about it. All those high first rounders and it's a shallow class a minute I had there.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:17 AM   #530
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Washington Wizards receive
PG Aaron Brennan

San Antonio Spurs receive
PF Jamarcus Wilson

What this means for the Wizards
The Wizards collect another talented young PG in 24 year old Brennan, who despite having some good all-around ability has found playing time hard to come by in his 5 and a 1/2 seasons in the league. With Brennan and Tony Johnson now on the Washington roster, could Leland Peterson's days be numbered?

What this means for the Spurs
Wilson's departure has been rumored for quite some time now, with the Sacramento Kings the most popular name. Instead, it's San Antonio who snaps up the good-shooting 26 year old rebounding specialist and inserts him as their starting PF. Great young lineup forming for the Spurs with Ameirin Qipani (24), Prokopios Vadeki (23), Damian Thomas (20), J. Wilson and Mark Wilson (28). They've also a pretty good bench highlighted by 5 position 23 year old Jermaine Trask, who unlike most full court players, is actually good. Don't be surprised if the Spurs are in the playoffs next year.

Winner: San Antonio
The Spurs swap a disappointing youngster for a talented one who can step in as a starter and significantly improve their first five, while the Wizards now have way too many point guards.

I don't get that trade by the Wizards at all, unless Peterson goes. But they'd have to find a GM dumb enough to take on a 33 year old overrated PG with a fairly bad contract.

It's curious how many month-starting doubleheaders Schedulegate froze us with and we've got another one here, winning both. David Anyan and Nigel Abel each score 23, Antonio Sarchet pulls down 20 points and 11 rebounds and Jim Johnson just misses a bench double with 8 points and 10 rebounds as we knock off the Knicks 97-86. David Anyan keys our 117-111 win over the Trailblazers as well, scoring 29, with Antonio Sarchet putting up 13 points and 14 rebounds, William Tackett racking up 21 points and a great all-around performance from our reserves, including 10 points from Mateen Yeaton on 4 for 4 shooting and 11 assists from Jameel Williams.

Our biggest game of the year comes next against the Suns and we prove that we can beat them, winning 114-101 at home. Antonio Sarchet was a monster with 25 points and 21 rebounds, William Tackett knifed his way to 23 points and 13 assists, Nigel Abel scored 20 and Terrence Howard nabbed 12 points and 11 rebounds.

But our euphoria's short-lived as we lose both games of the ensuing doubleheader. Seattle stuns us 97-77 as we shoot 39.2% and can only produce William Tackett's 14 points and 10 assists and Jim Johnson's 11 bench points. It's the 123-110 loss to Dallas at home the next night that really hurts, though. Marcelino Augusto reams us for 41 points and 13 rebounds and Devone Allen tacks on 33 points to that total. In the face of that, 27 points from Nigel Abel, 17 points and 10 rebounds from Terrence Howard, William Tackett's 12 points and 15 assists and Justin Cherry's 11 bench points just don't cut it.

3 losses in a row after a 100-87 defeat to the Celtics. Terrence Howard's 12 points and 14 rebounds and Jim Johnson's 14 bench points are it and I'm going to have to seriously consider making a deadline move.

After a lot of thought and soul-searching, I come very close to pulling the trigger on a trade, but stop just short, deciding to see how we play our last couple games before the break.

We win both games of the road back-to-back, making the situation more confounding. 103-94 over the Bulls, carried by Terrence Howard's 16 points and 13 rebounds, Nigel Abel's 23 points, and 3 reserves in double-digit scoring: Mike Vines (12 points), Mateen Yeaton (11 points), Jameel Williams (10 points). It's the reverse in our 118-106 win in New Jersey, as our starters carry the day. Terrence Howard is the man of the night with 24 points and 15 rebounds, Antonio Sarchet adds 18 points and 11 rebounds, Nigel Abel scores 25 and William Tackett tosses out 17 points and 15 assists.

William Tackett wasn't going to be denied a starting spot this year and he made the Sophomore team as the PG, netting 13 points and 16 assists as the second years smashed the newcomers 100-88. Sigiswald Eckert was MVP with 26 points, but I thought Damian Thomas's 22 points and 11 rebounds equally deserving. Jim Johnson came off the bench for the Sophomores and had 10 points and 7 rebounds.

A very boring All-Star game saw the West pulverize the East 104-78, with the Clippers' Kueth Hill winning MVP honors with 22 points. No Kings made the cut, which doesn't surprise me. We don't have that go-to superstar this year.

This has been the most agonizing trade deadline I've ever been through. I feel like we're just one step away from being that championship winning team, but I don't know that player is.

I spend a lot of sleepless nights wrestling with that question. It gets so bad I even take up smoking again, indulging in it heavily.

Of course, it's somewhat helped by the fact that the pieces I'm most willing to trade are scoffed at by the GMs I'm trying to deal with. Most of them aren't willing to offer fair value and it makes a real chore. "We're not going to give up a franchise player without getting one in return" all the bastards parrot, as if the players I'm offering aren't franchise men in their own right.

I finally get so disgusted and frustrated, I just decide to stay our hand with what we have.

After such an irritating couple of weeks, it feels damned good to kick the shit out of Atlanta, winning 104-85 on David Anyan's 28 points, Terrence Howard's 24 points on perfect 11/11 shooting and 14 bench rebounds from Jim Johnson.

I make one last ditch effort to find a trade on the very eve of the deadline and just when I'm about to give up hope, I swing a swap.

Sacramento Kings receive
PG Ray Fields
Atlanta Hawks 2028 2nd round pick
Atlanta Hawks 2029 2nd round pick

Atlanta Hawks receive
PF Antonio Sarchet

What this means for the Kings
As fantastic as William Tackett has been, he's an absolute sieve on the defensive end. Fields may not be as good a passer, but he brings much better defense, veteran savvy and enough offense to replace Tackett at starting PG. There's now a 3 headed guard set of Fields (now 32), Tackett and Nigel Abel that's going to create major problems for opponents. The Kings also get rid of Sarchet's rather long contract and usher in Jim Johnson to the starting PF spot, one he's ready for.

What this means for the Hawks
Sarchet's a monster rebounder and a steady scorer, the perfect complement to pair inside with Oswaldo Apolonario, who can no longer be double-teamed in the post at the risk of freeing up the deadly accurate newest Hawk. On the downside, Atlanta doesn't have anyone capable of running the point and while the Suns have proven that's not a problem, the Hawks also don't have the sheer firepower Phoenix brings to compensate for it.

Winner: Draw
Both teams are gambling here. Sacramento's risking that they won't miss Sarchet's ability to rebound inside and that Johnson can keep his matching 60%+ shooting that he had off the bench going with his starting spot. The Kings are also betting they can keep all three of their guards happy. Meanwhile, the Hawks are banking on turning into Phoenix East, the successful team sans legit PG. Neither outcome is one we'd like to wager on.

Okay, so it's risky, but I feel it's important to give Johnson the starting job now and be able to get something for Sarchet, who'd turn into an albatross by the end of his contract.

I have my concerns about the Fields/Tackett/Anyan/Johnson/Howard starting 5 Andre Miller puts on the court, but it's good enough for us to rally in the fourth and beat the Mavericks 96-94 in Dallas. David Anyan scores 29, Terrence Howard hauls in 16 points and 13 rebounds and Ray Fields nets 13 points and 12 assists. More importantly, Fields corrals Devone Allen into shooting 35.3% and while Allen scored 23, he needed 17 shots to do it.

It's on the road for yet another doubleheader and we take both. The 76ers go down 108-94 as we share the wealth on offense, all five Kings starters scoring at least 15 points. Leading the way is Terrence Howard with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Ray Fields records 15 points and 11 assists and Nigel Abel scores 12 off the bench. Terrible shooting by both teams, but we come back in the fourth to beat the Wizards 92-88 on David Anyan's 23 points, Terrence Howard's 13 points and 16 rebounds, Ray Fields's 12 points and 10 assists and bench performances of 11 and 10 points from Mike Vines and Nigel Abel.

I have this nagging feeling we've gotten worse by this deal and the Bobcats add to it by blowing us out 115-93 on the front end of another away doubleheader. Terrence Howard and David Anyan combine for 24 and 22 points and William Tackett has 18 points and 10 assists, back in his native PG spot, but Mike Vines's 11 bench points don't cut it and our defense goes south. We charge back for a 105-92 win over the Magic the next night, thanks to David Anyan scoring 23, Brandon Edmond posting 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and Nigel Abel scoring 14, but I'm starting to regret making that trade.

On the other hand, 44-15 has us a game behind 44-13 Phoenix for the division lead and #1 seed and we're 11.5 games clear of the Clippers who made a very stupid trade this month. That same trade propelled the Nuggets to 25-32 and a possible playoff team. It's Seattle in charge of the Northwest at 36-20 though, 7 games up on the Timberwolves, while 33-23 Dallas is 3.5 ahead of the Hornets.

Boston's got the East owned at 46-12, 6.5 in front of the Raptors, while 34-22 Cleveland leads by the Central by 3 games over the.... Indiana Pacers. Yes, you read that right. The Pacers have a winning record. Atlanta's doing fine, 3 games ahead of Charlotte at 32-25.

I have this sinking feeling I'm going to seriously regret that deadline deal, but we'll just see what comes of it. I suppose going 4-1 since the trade, with all 5 games on the road is something, but we only beat one good team and that was just barely, with the Mavericks.

But who knows? Maybe we're better than I think we are and we'll improve as this new unit gels together.
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:05 AM   #531
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I wouldn't have messed with the chemistry, myself, but then again I can't see the financials. Might be worth a little bump in the road for the long term gain. Still, I really liked your starting lineup. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:54 PM   #532
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
I wouldn't have messed with the chemistry, myself, but then again I can't see the financials. Might be worth a little bump in the road for the long term gain. Still, I really liked your starting lineup. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Financially, it was a great move. Antonio Sarchet is 30 and under contract through his age 34 season, which is worth $16.7 mill. Ray Fields, on the other hand, is 32, but only on the books for this season and next.

The on-court product, we'll have to see.
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:21 PM   #533
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It's funny how sometimes the moves you make, the ones you're most unsure about, turn out to have been just the right ones to make in the end. 3 games after he gets to Atlanta, Antonio Sarchet tears his Achilles. He's done for the year, obviously and may miss some time at the start of next season. So we would have had a lineup shuffle in any case.

On to the other trades, including the blockbuster that I'm still having trouble believing happened.

Los Angeles Clippers receive
PF Tim Butler

Denver Nuggets receive
C Dontay Williamson

What this means for the Clippers
Butler is a 28 year old scorer and rebounder with an accurate shot. Not the best defender in the world, but with his great offensive moves, he doesn't need to be. He becomes the heir to Bill Towns, the starting PF for the last 14 and a 1/2 seasons, who now slots to SF and gives the Clippers a formidable pair of forwards. The bench just got deadlier too, with Andre Davis moved to 6th man. Travann Patterson is a terrible fit as the new starting C, however, woefully undersized and paper-thin on defense.

What this means for the Nuggets
Jonte Jones has definitely dropped off in his second tour of duty in Denver, which makes the addition of Williamson all the more exciting. The 27 year old has improved his shooting accuracy the last couple seasons and is well-known for his otherwordly rebounding, defense and shotblocking, particularly surprising since he's only 6'9. On the other hand, he packs 276 pounds of muscle on that frame. He also greatly strengthens the Nuggets lineup by allowing them to shift Jones to SF. Antawn Carson isn't that much of a dropoff from Butler at PF and promising second year forward Mark Duhon now gets a lot more PT to develop.

Winner: Denver
Are we sure somebody in the Nuggets organization didn't channel GM Jestor? This is the type of brilliant move that the former Denver GM made to bring 3 straight championships to Denver. The Clippers actually tread water with this deal, because Patterson is that much of a drop from Williamson, while the Nuggets have just made themselves a possible late seed playoff team as soon as this season.

Boston Celtics receive
PG Brian Floyd
Golden State Warriors 2027 2nd round pick

Golden State Warriors receive
PF Booker Werner
SF Jason Lutz

What this means for the Celtics
The 25 year old Floyd is as mediocre to bad as they come and he not only has no upside and is buried on an already PG-heavy team, he's under contract two more years after this one at $2.6 and $2.9 million.

What this means for the Warriors
Werner is a completely average bench F/C, but the 27 year old big man at least has the intelligence to play better than his talent suggests. He's a significant upgrade for a woeful Golden State bench. Lutz is D-League filler.

Winner: Golden State
We don't know what even possessed the Celtics to make this move. It hurts them financially and it hurts them talentwise.

Seattle Supersonics receive
PG A.J. Dunkley
Philadelphia 76ers 2027 2nd round pick

Philadelphia 76ers receive
SG Adam Lopez
SG Austin Forte

What this means for the Supersonics
At 35, Dunkley isn't the same PG that was so effective with the Jazz for so many years. But he's still an excellent reserve PG with an expiring $11.3 million contract.

What this means for the 76ers
Philadelphia released Forte, who re-signed with the Supersonics a week after the trade, so it boils down to Lopez for Dunkley. Lopez is a decent all-around guard, but he's 30 and expiring (only $6 million) and can't even crack the starting lineup of one of the NBA's worst teams. Worse yet, he'll be a cancer if he doesn't get the playing time he feels he deserves.

Winner: Seattle
Dunkley is the kind of player that improves Seattle in their push towards a title this year and whose expiring contract sets the Supersonics to bring in another elite player in free agency, possibly a true PG. As for Philadelphia, they just sacrificed $5 million in upcoming cap space for no good reason.

What a crazy deadline and I'm still peeved about the Nuggets. I was counting on that first rounder being an early-mid lottery pick, not a playoff spot selection.

Our sixth straight road game since the trade ends in a 114-101 dismantling of the youthful Heat. We've been winning on balance and we do so again here. William Tackett scores 20, Jim Johnson has his first double-double as a starter with 10 points and 12 rebounds and Jameel Williams and Nigel Abel tack on 12 and 10 points off the bench respectively.

It's a barnburner, but we still manage to hold off the Pistons' comeback bid and win 108-106 in our first home game in a long time. William Tackett leads the defense with 24 points and 11 assists, Ray Fields scores 22 and David Anyan gets 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The next game's an all-out slugfest against the Grizzlies, but we come out on top 126-115 in OT as David Anyan puts on an epic shooting clinic for 41 points, Ray Fields scores 26, William Tackett issues 19 points and 17 assists and Terrence Howard contributes 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Our biggest margin of victory since the deal comes with a 103-74 thrashing of the Clippers. We were so balanced this game, our highlights are from the bench - Mike Vines with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Nigel Abel with 11 points.

We follow that up with an even more impressive 127-98 hammering of Houston, the beatdown engineered by David Anyan's 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists, Jim Johnson's breakout 26 points, Ray Fields's 22 points and Nigel Abel's 17 bench points.

128-98's the final over Orlando and we seem to have really grown much more comfortable with each other. David Anyan bombs the Magic for 42 points, Ray Fields doubles for 15 points and 13 assists, taking his turn to start at PG, and 3 reserves score 12+ points: Mike Vines (16 points), Nigel Abel (13 points) and Brandon Edmond (12 points).

A trip to Oakland yields a pleasurable 110-92 win, all five starters scoring 12 points or more, led by David Anyan's 26 points, Jim Johnson's 11 points and 13 rebounds and Brandon Edmond's 12 bench points.

From there, we head down to Los Angeles for a 111-88 demolition of the Clippers on the front end of a doubleheader. Terrence Howard dazzles with 26 points and 16 rebounds, William Tackett scores 24, David Anyan 22 and Jameel Williams heads up the bench with 10 points. The next night, we put away Golden State 101-91 via balanced offense headlined by William Tackett's 22 points and 11 assists as he takes over PG duties again and Terrence Howard's 13 points and 14 rebounds. Those 13 points were the lowest scored by any of the Kings' starters.

It's a 109-85 triumph over Portland that's next on the agenda, Ray Fields the chairman with 29 points. William Tackett helps keep things smooth with 16 points and 10 assists and Mike Vines comes off the bench for 10 points.

Marcelino Augusto puts on a breathtaking 45 point, 17 rebound, 2 assist, 3 block outing against us the next game... and the Mavericks still lose 109-103. It's one of the most satisfying wins I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. David Anyan scores 24, but it's Ray Fields operating out of the PG spot for 28 points and 10 assists who really brings home the win.

The Nuggets may have greatly improved, but they can't stop us from pouring it on the fourth for a gritty 88-74 win. David Anyan scores 20, Terrence Howard fights for 10 points and 12 rebounds against Dontay Williamson and Nigel Abel keys the second team with 13 points.

Philadelphia's punchless as we knock them out 103-90 next game. David Anyan scores 22, Ray Fields distributes 13 points and 10 assists and Nigel Abel and Mike Vines pace the bench with 18 and 12 points respectively.

We fly to Detroit for a 99-89 win, riding a 30-19 second quarter, David Anyan and William Tackett's matching 22 points, Ray Fields's 14 points and 13 assists and all five starters scoring at least 13 to get the victory.

I've never, ever had a team go undefeated in a month and the Cavaliers ruin our perfect March hopes, beating us 115-108 in Cleveland. One hell of an effort by the boys though, as David Anyan scores 30, Terrence Howard loves up 18 for points and rebounds and Ray Fields has 17 points and 10 assists before fouling out.

This not only ends our bid for a perfect March, it stops a 14 game win streak. So much for the trade harming us, hm?

At 58-16, we've clinched at least the #2 seed in the playoffs, but we're just a game in front of the 56-16 Suns for the Pacific title and the #1 seed. Dallas and Seattle have identical 45-27 records and both are up by 7.5 games over the Hornets and Timberwolves respectively and if the playoffs were held today, the 33-38 Denver Nuggets would have the #8 seed. In fact, barring a collapse by the Nuggets and a run by the Trailblazers, Denver's got it.

It really makes me want to win the Pacific and #1 seed so I can have the satisfaction of beating them down.

Out East, Boston's clinched the #1 seed in the East at 55-17. They're 9 games ahead of the Raptors. 45-26 Cleveland has a 4 game edge on the Pacers while Atlanta's shrugged off the loss of Antonio Sarchet to lead the suddenly resurgent Wizards by 4.5 at 42-30.

Mateen Yeaton has seen his playing time get drastically cut, so I call Andre Miller and ask him to give Yeaton more minutes over the last couple weeks of the season. He expresses his doubts about that, warning that we could lose the #1 seed in the process but I want Yeaton to be happy.

I won't ask for the extra time for him in the playoffs, though. That he'll have to earn on his own.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:27 AM   #534
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In the midst of a battle for the #1 seed, you'd think I'd feel a sense of urgency and worry, but I don't. I just have this strange feeling of calm, probably because we can do no worse than the #2 seed.

Our first of the last eight is a 95-87 slugfest victory over the Timberwolves, David Anyan carrying us on his back with 21 points.

Seattle's next in our tour of Northwest teams and we clobber them 120-94. David Anyan does it again, scoring 29, while Terrence Howard scores 24, Jim Johnson bangs in 13 points and 10 rebounds and Nigel Abel and Mike Vines each score 11 off the bench.

Our reserves shoot us in the foot by building a brickhouse in a 108-101 loss to the Traiblazers. Amazing game by Sonny Boxler with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 blocks and a steal, but we throw away David Anyan's 27 points and 10 rebounds, Jim Johnson's 16 points and 13 rebounds and William Tackett's 24 points. I suppose Mike Vines deserves credit for 12 bench boards, but the second team was awful from the floor.

Nigel Abel bursts off the bench for 24 points and Terrence Howard nabs 18 points and 12 rebounds to enable us to beat the Lakers 111-101. I'd also be criminal if I failed to point out Mateen Yeaton's 14 bench points.

3-1 is a nice way to go in the first half of the final eight, but we've got a key road doubleheader next, the back end in Phoenix. We clobber the Lakers 111-99 on Ray Fields's 23 points and 10 assists, William Tackett's 20 points, Terrence Howard's poor 10 point, 10 rebound double and Mike Vines's 17 bench points. Then we blow a fourth quarter lead against the Suns and lose by one bloody point, 118-117. Ray Fields was lights out with 27 points and 14 assists, William Tackett scored 29, Terrence Howard had 20 points and 10 rebounds and David Anyan scored 22. Had our bench played better, we would've won the game.

We really, really needed that win because the loss not only tied us for the Suns for the #1 seed, but I think it gives them the tiebreaker edge as well. Still, we beat the Jazz 108-101 in the second to last game of the year as all five Kings starters score 16 or better, ignited by Ray Fields and David Anyan with 23 and 22 points a piece.

This sets up the winner-take-all match with Phoenix in the last game of the regular season. It's at home in front of our fans and I believe whoever wins, gets the #1 seed. And despite shooting just 39.3%, we win an epic defensive battle 93-91 to clinch the #1 seed for the second year in a row, rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit. Terrence Howard was a beast down low with 28 points and 21 rebounds, David Anyan his steady second with 21 points.

West Conference Seedings
1. Sacramento Kings (64-18)
2. Phoenix Suns (62-20)
3. Seattle Supersonics (50-32)
4. Dallas Mavericks (50-32)
5. New Orleans Hornets (43-39)
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (42-40)
7. Denver Nuggets (41-41)
8. Los Angeles Clippers (40-42)

The execs are disappointed that their dream matchup of Nuggets/Kings doesn't happen and nobody more's concerned about it than the Suns. Sacramento and Denver were the two hottest teams over the second half of the season and nobody wants to play us or the Nuggets in the playoffs.

East Conference Seedings
1. Boston Celtics (64-18)
2. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31)
3. Atlanta Hawks (50-32)
4. Toronto Raptors (50-32)
5. Chicago Bulls (47-35)
6. Indiana Pacers (47-35)
7. Washington Wizards (44-38)
8. Charlotte Bobcats (41-41)

All the teams look pretty even to me in the East despite Boston's record. They're going crazy in the Hoosier state as it's the first time the Pacers have been in the postseason since 2016, when they were 43-39 and a #8 seed. That's a 10 year drought that just got squashed.

Too tired to do the leaders. After the first round.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:45 AM   #535
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Amazing finish to the season. What's been your starting lineup towards the end here?
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:42 AM   #536
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I smell title.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:47 PM   #537
Izulde
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Autumn: Thanks.

PG Ray Fields/William Tackett
SG William Tackett/Ray Fields
SF David Anyan
PF Jim Johnson
C Terrence Howard

Andre Miller switches off Fields and Tackett, because they can both play each spot well. During the last stretch of games, though, it's been Fields at PG, Tackett at SG.

Coffee Warlord: Don't jinx us!
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:28 PM   #538
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As cool as it would have been to draw the Nuggets in the first round, I'm secretly glad we didn't. Denver's just been off the charts since acquiring Dontay Williamson for Tim Butler and as for the Clippers... well, the article excerpt I have here says it all.

"The top seed in the West meant more than just home-court advantage throughout the playoffs this season. It meant the difference between facing white-hot Denver and the ice-cold Clippers, who tumbled from a good early season form that saw them in the thick of the Pacific race all the way down to a sub-.500 record by season's end. Against the Kings, who went an astounding 23-4 after acquiring Ray Fields at the deadline, that doesn't bode well.

But this is the playoffs, where anything can happen.

Point Guard
Ray Fields vs. Kueth Hill

Kings head coach Andre Miller has flip-flopped Fields and William Tackett at PG down the stretch, but he's been going with the 32 year old Fields lately. A savvy veteran competitor with good scoring talents, underrated passing ability and respectable defense, Fields averaged 17 points, 9.1 assists and 1.8 steals between the Hawks and the Kings. A career-long Hawk until the deadline trade, he was a key part of the 2019 Atlanta team that Cinderellaed its way to the Finals, where they were beaten by GM Jestor's Nuggets.

27 year old Hill doesn't have quite the basketball IQ that Fields does, but he's more skilled in physical tools and a has a greater nose for the basket. That said, their games and their statistics are remarkable similiar: 17.7 points, 8.2 assists and 1.4 steals. Fields does have the height advantage at 6'5 over Hill's 6'1, though.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
William Tackett vs. Jack McKnight

Last year's Rookie of the Year showed no signs of sophomore slump in shooting 51.2% for 14.9 points, 10.2 assists, almost a block and 1.3 steals per game. Not a good technical defender, but he makes the defensive plays and is a magnificent passer. In fact, he's probably best suited to PG over Fields, but he can also produce the points and with him and Fields on the same team, Miller is able to create matchup hell and unique looks on offense that drive opposing teams crazy.

McKnight is also 24, but has been around the league 6 seasons. He's still developing his offensive game and hasn't quite gotten the production to match his talents. That said, 14.5 points and 1.5 steals is nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, he's as bad on defense as Tackett. But also like Tackett, he's capable of playing PG as well, so the two teams have very similar backcourts in that regard. The two guards are the same height, but Tackett outweighs McKnight by 20 pounds.

Advantage: Draw

Small Forward
David Anyan vs. Bill Towns

Anyan has been the man for the Kings last year and this, combining terrific defense with a scorer's mentality and excellent passing. He averaged 21.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and a steal per game and plays much younger than his 34 years and much bigger than his 6'6, 204 frame.

Towns, a career-long Clipper, may have the size advantage at 6'10, 240 lbs, but at 35, he's been looking exhausted the last few seasons, conserving his energy for a career-high 52.7% shooting that translates into just 11.5 points and 5.4 rebounds. A decent defender, but not a playmaker and on top of it, he's bothered by a back injury.

Advantage: Kings

Power Forward
Jim Johnson vs. Tim Butler

When Fields first arrived in Sacramento, he was greatly impressed with the 6'10, 223 lb Johnson, who is as thin as he is tall, but shows a flexibility that had the newest King quipping, "He's like a Twizzler out there man, this tall, thin dude who just stretches his way to get where he needs to be." That nickname of Twizzler has stuck within the locker room and it could become a national name after this postseason. Starting 28 games after the move to land Fields, Johnson shot an Antonio Sarchetesque 60.4% during the regular season for 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds. The 21 year old still has some developing to do in this, his second season, but he's come a long way in that year and a half from the raw rookie drafted 9th overall in Jestor's first Kings draft. Not a phenomenal defender, but competent and a great passer for a big man. If he can further develop his offensive and rebounding game, he'll be a force to be reckoned with.

Butler, a long-time Jestor favorite, has drawn a lot of heat since coming to the Clippers. He hasn't shown the scoring outburst the front office was hoping for when they got him, though he's still capable of turning it on and grabbing rebounds. Averaged 17.8 points and 8.3 rebounds between Denver and the Clippers. Strictly a scorer and rebounder, as he doesn't make his presence felt at all on defense. On the other hand, he's an accurate shooter who turns it up a notch during the playoffs.

Advantage: Draw

Center
Terrence Howard vs. Travann Patterson

After several years of Jestor's teams relying on an increasingly creaky Greg Oden at C, he surprisingly turned to Howard in free agency and just as surprising, the 34 year old former Jazz and Trailblazers star (with a couple Pacers seasons thrown in), has been a key part of the Kings' success this year, posting 15.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. A scoring beast inside, he gobbles up rebounds and plays tougher defense than even Jestor realized and has the kind of hustle that makes him seem larger than his 6'10, 259 pound body suggests.

The Clippers really missed Dontay Williamson down the stretch after trading him for Butler. Patterson's 6'9, 227 lbs and a natural SF. As a result, he's a finesse player who can score (10.1 points, 6 rebounds), but has -zero- defensive ability and is going to get eaten alive by Howard.

Advantage: Kings

Bench

Sacramento's bench came under a lot of fire during the last several games of the season for not producing, but Nigel Abel is still a sharpshooter at 36, averaging 10.5 points a game and playing better defense than most people credit him for. Jameel Williams was a pleasant surprise, averaging 5.2 points and 4.5 assists, while returned Kings legend Mike Vines posted 5.1 points, flourishing with the increased playing time and showing off his trademark denying defense. And of course, there's a certain Mateen Yeaton still hanging around at 38.

The Clippers have a pair of phenomenal bench scorers in Andre Davis (10.6 points, 4 rebounds) and former Kings great Justin Barnes (13.2 points). But Davis, who also plays terrific defense, is angry about losing his starting job and the Red and White have no bench bigs worth even discussing. Against a Sacramento squad that has Vines and unsung Brandon Edmond sitting with the second team, that's not good.

Advantage: Kings

Final Thoughts

On paper, this looks like a much more even matchup than the records suggest. But in reality, this is going to be a slaughterfest. Sacramento's going to roll here and it should come out a sweep. The Clippers have been that lost without Williamson.
Prediction: Kings in 4

I don't know if I'd be -that- sure of our chances, but I could very easily see us winning this in 5, yes.

Game One
If the first game is any indication, this one could be over in a hurry. David Anyan takes over early and often, finishing with 32 points and 11 rebounds. William Tackett scores 22, Ray Fields issues 16 points and 18 assists, Terrence Howard gets in 10 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Vines makes the home crowd happy with 12 bench points. On the opposite end, Jack McKnight scores 23 and Justin Barnes draws applause from fans who remember him fondly with 13 bench points (though I have to point out, Barnes was 3 for 15 from 3 point range. How bad did we kick Clipper ass? The closest quarter was 28 Sacramento, 23 Los Angeles. A 40 point win is a great way to start a series.
Final - Clippers 75 Sacramento 115

Game Two
The Clippers made it a much closer game, thanks to 6th man Justin Barnes having an accurate night for 24 points, but once again it's a Kings laugher. Terrence Howard puts in 31 points and 12 rebounds, William Tackett scores 24, David Anyan puts in 23 points, Ray Fields nets 16 points and 13 assists and Nigel Abel scores 10 off the bench. Excellent 2-0 series lead.
Final - Clippers 99 Sacramento 122

Game Three
Andre Miller warns the boys not to get overconfident heading to Los Angeles. Terrence Howard (28 points) and Mike Vines (11 points, 13 rebounds), get the message, but all five Clippers starters finally get their acts together, each scoring at least 12, with Kueth Hill having an absolutely jaw-dropping game of 34 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals to lead his team to a 110-102 upset win that suddenly turns this into a 2-1 series and gives the Red and White new life.
Final - Sacramento 102 Clippers 110

Game Four
The whole coaching staff joins in the riot act reading before this game, with Emeka Okafor shockingly throwing off his laid back demeanor and calling the team out, saying they have no heart, no passion. That pisses everybody off and we get off to an erratic start, down 27-19 after the first quarter, but then our angry defense kicks in and we win all three remaining quarters to pull away in a tough, hard-fought game. David Anyan leads the charge with 20 points, while Terrence Howard and Ray Fields grab double-doubles of 13 points, 16 rebounds, 7 blocks and 12 points, 11 assists respectively. Kueth Hill had another great game for the Clippers with 20 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks and Tim Butler finally broke through for 15 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to prevent our seizing the 3-1 series lead.
Final - Sacramento 94 Clippers 77

Just one series ends in a sweep this year and it's the Mavericks over the Hornets, setting up a second round match of us vs. Dallas. A lot of people are going to be happy about that, because stories about I and Marcelino Augusto never get old apparently.

Game Five
"Don't let them back in." That was the only thing Andre Miller said before this game and we don't. The Clippers score first on a layup and then Ray Fields shoots from downtown to make it 3-2. That's the only lead change of the entire game as we don't allow them so much as a tie the whole rest of the night. What a sensational night for David Anyan: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals. Ray Fields pours on 20 points and 13 assists, Terrence Howard hangs 17 points and 11 rebounds on the Clippers and Mike Vines and Nigel Abel are dazzling with 18 and 12 points to lead the second team. A convincing win and an important one heading into the next round against Dallas.
Final - Clippers 82 Sacramento 112

Boston downs Charlotte in 5 and the Hawks make Indiana's return to the postseason a short one, kicking them out in five. But the big stunner is the Wizards upsetting the Cavaliers in five games, 7 seed over 2. I know Washington really turned it on in the second half, but I never would have predicted that route.

The Raptors avoid embarassment by eliminating the Bulls in 6 and the remaining two series are going the full seven games.

Seattle knocks off Minnesota, thus advancing the Supersonics to the second round for the first time since... I can't remember how long it's been. But then comes the shock of the year: (7) Denver upsets the two-time defending champions (2) Phoenix Suns in Phoenix. They just preserved the Raptors and my own Nuggets' consecutive threepeats and everybody across the country is buzzing about that Game 7.

The Nuggets won 86-80 as Charles Arnold scored 25, Dondrell Wilder had 10 points and 11 assists...

...and Dontay Williamson set a postseason record of some kind with 17 points, 31 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks. 31 freaking rebounds!!!!

I was just in absolute awe watching that game. No doubt about it, he's the MVP of that Nuggets team.
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:48 PM   #539
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31 rebounds? 31 rebounds? That's insane. This is turning into an exciting postseason!
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:31 PM   #540
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Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
31 rebounds? 31 rebounds? That's insane. This is turning into an exciting postseason!

Yes, yes it is.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:31 PM   #541
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Will Jestor's Kings Make It 2-0 Against Augusto's Mavericks?

For the second year in a row, the Jestor-GM'ed Sacramento Kings suit up against the Marcelino Augusto-led Dallas Mavericks in the postseason. The two still bear little love for each other, with Jestor remarking early last week that "Augusto, unfortunately, has always been concerned with himself as the face of a franchise and if somebody else supersedes him, he gets unhappy and rather selfishly so, I think" and Augusto firing back, "The reason Denver was so bad last year and why they needed that smart trade this year to get into the playoffs is because Jestor took an amazing team and wrecked it, starting by getting rid of me."

But of course, that same Nuggets team won a third straight title after Augusto was traded and the Finals MVP of that year was Jonte Jones, the man he was traded for. However, facts such as that don't stand in the way of a good story or a continued, heated rivalry between two of the game's biggest personalities. (With apologies to David "50 Ninja" Jackson) and this should be another great series between two very talented teams.

Point Guard
Ray Fields vs. Devone Allen

Fields fits flawlessly into the Kings' offense and did a sensational job of running it in the first round, averaging 14 points, 11.6 assists and 1.4 steals, showing off some great ball skills.

His better defense will be a key component as he goes up against Allen, one of the Mavericks' two perennial All-NBA players. Allen had a fantastic outing in the sweep against the Hornets with 21.8 points, 6 rebounds, 8.5 assists and a block per game. Shot a fiery 61.8%, the best start he's ever had to a playoffs. There's just no flaws to his game, as he's the total package player, a 6'8 SF who can run an offense better than a lot of true PGs. He should have little difficulty in containing Fields and harrasing him into turnovers.

Advantage: Mavericks

Shooting Guard
William Tackett vs. Jeremy Leach

Tackett looked extremely comfortable playing out of the SG spot against the Clippers, amassing 18.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.2 blocks. While he'll get scored on a lot, he finds ways to disrupt the other team's rhythm and make an overall positive impact for the Kings.

Leach struggled at times shooting the ball against New Orleans, but he still averaged 16 points and a steal. He should see many more points and much greater accuracy against Tackett, but he'll have to watch out that he doesn't get scored on himself, as he's only average on defense and not really a playmaker on that side o the court. Still, the veteran should outduel the youngster here.

Advantage: Mavericks

Small Forward
David Anyan vs. Brad Smalls

Even on a Kings team that developed a much more balanced offense this season, Anyan's still the scoring leader, averaging 22.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, a steal and 1.4 blocks. Like Allen, he has no real holes in his game and is an absolutely ferocious defender.

Which of course means that no-defense Smalls is in for a very rough series and will be clamped down from his 15.5 points and 2.3 steals. How non-existant is Smalls' defense? So much so that Tackett's a better defender than he is. Arguably the single biggest mismatch of the series and one that the Kings must absolutely win decisively to advance.

Advantage: Kings

Power Forward
Jim Johnson vs. Marcelino Augusto

Twizzler Johnson had a very quiet first round, averaging 7.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and a steal. On the other hand, he shot 58.1% and showed careful selection. But he'll need to be a little more aggressive in going for scoring this round, both to try and combat the Mavericks' firepower and to draw fouls on Augusto. Then again, he did an excellent job of containing Tim Butler in the previous series.

Augusto's extremely energetic right now, averaging 30 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in the playoffs. He nearly singlehandedly beat Sacramento last year and Johnson's going to have to try and slow him down as much as he can, if indeed anyone can halt an in-prime megastar like Augusto.

Advantage: Mavericks

Center
Terrence Howard vs. Daniel Wilder

Howard looks in peak form right now after abusing the Clippers for 19.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks. He's been a steady saving grace for Sacramento all season long, a critical component inside.

Wilder's big to the point of being fat at 6'9, 282 lbs and he shot a woeful 27.3% in the opening round. On most teams, he'd be buried on the end of the bench, because as his 3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks illustrate, he's little more than a guy who can grab some rebounds and make some highlight defensive plays, despite being a mediocre technical defender. Guys like this are the kind that players like Howard love to hammer away on.

Advantage: Kings

Bench

Mike Vines came out of nowhere to average 10.6 points and 7 rebounds in the opening series. He's fired up to be playing for his original team again, a version of it that has a real shot at a championship. He can score, rebound and play tyrannical defense. Nigel Abel is bothered by a knee injury, so he likely won't replicate his 7.8 points from the first round, but the Kings are deep enough that they can find other scoring options if need be. Jameel Williams has been great running things off the bench, averaging 4.8 assists.

David Tucker is a one man wrecking crew for the Mavericks, posting 12.5 points and 2.3 steals against New Orleans. But the rest of Dallas's reserves either are little-utilized or simply don't have much talent to speak of. Like the Clippers, the Mavericks have almost no big man depth and that's going to kill them against a balanced team like Sacramento.

Advantage: Kings

Final Thoughts

This is going to be another classic battle, a closely contested series that should go all 7 games. Homecourt advantage will rescue Sacramento in this one, but who knows how healthy they'll be at the end of what promises to be a protracted war?
Prediction: Kings in 7

An accurate assessment in my opinion. Any team with Marcelino Augusto and Devone Allen on it has to be taken very seriously.

Game One
Solid performance by our starting five, with everyone scoring at least 12 points. David Anyan shreds Dallas for 29 points and Ray Fields manufactures 18 points and 11 assists. Dallas counters with 29 points from Marcelino Augusto, 16 points from David Tucker off the bench and 8 reserve points and 10 reserve rebounds from James Williams. Short and sweet, their subs outduel ours and we get off on the wrong foot to start the series.
Final - Dallas 115 Sacramento 103

Game Two
We really couldn't afford to lose that first game, which makes winning this one all the more imperative. And yet, despite that urgency, Dallas makes a furious fourth quarter rally, captained by Marcelino Augusto's spell-binding 39 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks and a steal and Jeremy Leach's 31 points. We push back with 22 points and 11 rebounds from David Anyan, 21 points and 13 rebounds from Terrence Howard, 22 points from William Tackett, Ray Fields's 17 points and 18 assists and Nigel Abel's 14 bench points on 7 of 8 shooting despite a sprained knee. In the end, it's just enough to escape with a 2 point victory and an all-important tied series.
Final - Dallas 117 Sacramento 119

Game Three
Game 2 proved a costly victory, as William Tackett banged up his calf really badly and we have to start Nigel Abel. Jeremy Leach loves going up against Abel and burns both him and us for 32 points, while Marcelino Augusto hauls in 18 points and 15 rebounds, Devone Allen plays the role of a PG with 14 points and 12 assists and David Tucker scores 12 off the bench. Nigel Abel responds with 25 points, Ray Fields roars for 27 points and 15 assists, David Anyan scores 26 and Terrence Howard charges for 18 points and 10 rebounds as we stun the Mavericks in Dallas and steal a 2-1 series lead by rallying in the fourth quarter.
Final - Sacramento 119 Dallas 110

Game Four
Another phyrric victory we had in Game 3, as David Anyan took a headshot and has a serious concussion. Not bad enough to keep him out of the lineup, but enough to really give us concern for the rest of the series. How prophetic that preview article seems now. And yet, despite the pounding in his head, David Anyan scores 20, a 20 points matched by Ray Fields to go with his 18 assists, while Terrence Howard dials up 13 points and 12 rebounds. Marcelino Augusto hammers us for 26 points and 11 rebounds, Jeremy Leach scores 24, Devone Allen adds 10 points and 10 assists and David Tucker shoots a cool 12 points from the bench. Tied series, right? Wrong. Nigel Abel turns back the clock and hits shot after shot all night long for a stupendous 39 points to carry us to an improbable 3 point victory and a sweep in Dallas that puts us in the driver's seat at 3 games to 1!!!!
Final - Sacramento 110 Dallas 107

That Boston won the series isn't really a surprise. What -is- surprising is that they put down the Raptors in a sweep. It's one of the most disappointing playoff runs for Toronto in years and I call up the staff and front office to offer my sincere condolences. I would've liked to have one more Finals go against them before they begin reloading, which should be coming up in the next year or two.

Game Five
Can we close it out here in front of the fanatic Kings faithful? Jeremy Leach and Brad Smalls say no with 23 and 21 points and David Tucker says the same with 11 bench points. But Terrence Howard says yes with his 24 points, Nigel Abel says yes with 23 points, Ray Fields uses his 14 points and 14 assists to vote yes and so does William Tackett with his supporting 11 points. But the real decision-maker was Jim Johnson, who had his best game of the playoffs when we needed it most, grabbing 16 points and 12 rebounds while simulataneously holding Marcelino Augusto to his lowest output of the series: 19 points and 8 rebounds. The victory is our most biggest margin and the crowd's all aglow as we knock off the mighty Mavericks foe.
Final - Dallas 98 Sacramento 121

Atlanta/Washington and Seattle/Denver both give exciting playoff basketball of their own, each of them going seven games. Oswaldo Apolonario is finally going to the East Conference Finals as his Hawks edge the Wizards while Dontay Williamson's Nuggets blow a 3-1 series lead to fall in Game 7 to the Supersonics, spoiling the matchup the NBA and the media was hoping for in the West Conference Finals.

Not that I'm complaining. While it would have been even richer in storylines than this round against the Mavericks was, a lot of the players I brought to the Nuggets are still with my old team and that would've been a fight I didn't want, especially not with Williamson against Howard.

Could this be our year? Our year for a first-ever Kings Finals appearance? Perhaps even a ring?

A little maybe echoes in answer in my head.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:49 AM   #542
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One Step Away

The Sacramento Kings were down this road last year, when a swift remodel yielded a West Conference Finals date with the defending champion Phoenix Suns. Alas for their fans, the Kings lost to the Suns, who went on to repeat their title.

Now Sacramento's once more knocking on the door to the franchise's first-ever NBA Finals appearance and it's the surprising Seattle Supersonics standing in their way. The Sonics were one of the most unexpected success stories of the season and this battle for the West Conference crown promises to be an intriguing one.

Point Guard
Ray Fields vs. Andres Quarles

Fields has had an absolutely phenomenal postseason, racking up 16.6 points, 13.4 assists and 1.5 steals a game. In fact, he's probably the most adept floor general a GM Jestor-run team has ever had in the playoffs and that includes the Zelipe Gama years with the Nuggets. The deadline acquisition has been a much huger payoff than anyone could've anticipated.

33 year old Quarles is more suited to SG, his native position, and he's had some problems with shooting the ball during the playoffs, hovering around the 41% mark. Still, he's averaging 15.6 points and 7.6 assists, which isn't to be totally sneezed at. Not an exciting defender, but adequate.

Advantage: Kings

Shooting Guard
Nigel Abel vs. Vladimir Tupolev

Abel really bailed out the Kings in Game 4 against the Mavericks, scoring 39 points in Dallas to give Sacramento the 3 point win and the pivotal 3-1 series lead. He's been a godsend since William Tackett picked up a calf injury, averaging 14.4 points in just those 3 starts. A bad defender though, especially at 36, where he doesn't have the quickness needed to go up against younger players.

Younger players like Tupolev, the 21 year old Russian superstar in his third season. A brilliant scorer whose absolutely breathtaking to watch, he's averaging 19.2 points and 1.2 steals this postseason. Not anything more than an average defender, he's a respectable ballhandler and rebounder and with his scoring talents and size, he reminds a lot of people of a young Justin Richler. That's high praise and he should have a great series.

Advantage: Sonics

Small Forward
David Anyan vs. Russell Sims

Anyan is having the postseason of his life, shooting a record 52.9% for 22.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks. His defensive talents are going to come in handy going up against Sims and his offense is absolutely critical to countering Seattle's loaded weapon in Tupolev.

Sims, 20 and in his second season, is a stellar ballthief with great passing and handling skills for a forward. He's also a smart player with good rebounding instincts and a beautiful, accurate shot from all areas of the floor. Those talents have translated into playoff averages of 17.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 steals. But there's an Achilles heel and that's that he can't stop anyone from scoring. That's not a good thing to have against a player like Anyan, who is a great defender on top of it.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Jim Johnson vs. Freddie Tackett

Johnson started to get a little more aggressive in shooting against Dallas, but he needs to keep building on that. 8.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals is still far too quiet from a starter, particularly one who isn't known for stellar defense.

He also draws his third straight high-scoring opposite this postseason in Tackett. While not the terror that Marcelino Augusto was, the late-blooming Freddie is still spearheading the Sonics surge, averaging a team-high 19.5 points on 61.6% shooting with 5.9 points, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks. His defense is underrated and the matchup's going to be interesting to watch.

Advantage: Sonics

Center
Terrence Howard vs. Scott Costello

Howard's had some advantageous matchups the first two rounds and he's used them to his benefit, turning in 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks as a steady, formidable inside presence who's been somewhat overshadowed by Anyan and Abel's performances.

Costello will be Howard's first real test, a defensive specialist who doesn't do much else. Averaging 7.5 points and 7.2 rebounds, the proliferation of scoring in the rest of Seattle's starting five means that Costello can just sit back and concentrate on shutting the opposing team's center on defense. That's a dangerous omen for Kings fans.

Advantage: Draw

Bench

William Tackett's 14.6 points, 4.6 assists and 1.4 blocks are somewhat misleading, as he's had the bulk of starts so far this postseason. He's still nursing a bruised calf and if he can get back to full health, he'll provide a marginal defensive upgrade over Abel against Tupolev. Mike Vines cooled off against the Mavericks, but still has averages of 7.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in addition to being one of the best defenders on the court and Jameel Williams keeps finding ways to contribute with 4 points and 4.5 assists in 13 minutes of playing time, as the bench floor general.

David Thornton, the Sonics highest-scoring reserve at 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds a game is hampered by a strained abdominal muscle, which spells bad news for Seattle, because he's the only big man reserve worth talking about. Ron Morant is the other Sonics sub to be noted, averaging 7 points and 4.9 assists as the top guard. Morant's one of Jestor's favorite players, but had trouble finding playing time in a crowded Nuggets backcourt and was traded as part of a package for Andy Sola and a slate of first round picks. He found his way to Seattle via free agency this offseason and has been a real life-saver for the Sonics. Morant's also the lone Sonic reserve who has any clue what defense is and how to play it.

Advantage: Kings

Final Thoughts

This is a very, very close matchup. Both teams bring balanced offenses, but it seems like Seattle has more players capable of lighting it up on any given night and we have doubts that Sacramento can match that, even with a deeper bench and better defenders. The Sonics continue their fairy tale season here and once again destroy the Kings' dreams.
Prediction: Seattle in 6

There's a lot of sense to what they say and as much as I hate to admit it, I could very easily see the series going down like that.

Game One
The first game of the series is a barnburner, with 27 lead changes and 20 ties as it was back and forth all night long. It was only in the later stages of the fourth quarter that one team finally started pulling away. David Anyan leads all scorers with 27 points, Jim Johnson pleasantly surprises with 16 points and 12 rebounds, Terrence Howard nearly matches Twizzler with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Ray Fields continues his sizzling postseason with 21 points and 11 assists. Mike Vine highlights the reserves with 11 bench points. For Seattle, Vladimir Tupolev scores 20, Freddie Tackett garners 15 points and 12 rebounds and Scott Costello muscles his way to 12 points and 13 rebounds. Despite Seattle's bench outperforming ours as a whole, we're the team that separates in the closing minutes of the game, riding all 5 Kings' starters with at least 16 points scored to a nice opening victory.
Final - Seattle 102 Sacramento 110

Game Two
The Sonics come out on fire in this one, racing out to a 29-18 first quarter lead. Freddie Tackett and Vladimir Tupolev finish the game with 24 points a piece and Andre Quarles just misses being a third 20 point scorer with 19. But we chip away at their lead the rest of the game and once again win going away in the fourth quarter. David Anyan scores 23, Terrence Howard rustles up 12 points and 12 rebounds and Mike Vines again leads the bench with 10 points. Yet, it's the Player of the Game who pleases me most. Jim "Twizzler" Johnson has his coming out party with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, a block and 5 steals. What a fantastic outing and we take a 2-0 series lead on a victory that was much easier than the final scoreline indicates.
Final - Seattle 98 Sacramento 107

Game Three
The complexion of a series can change in a hurry with a change of venue and this time, the game's over by halftime as the Sonics stake out a 62-37 halftime lead and we simply can't catch up, no matter how hard we try. David Anyan was our lone highlight with 29 points and that wasn't going to do it on a night that saw Vladimir Tupolev bomb us for a Justin Richler-esque 38 points, Freddie Tackett score 26, Russell Sims accumulate 14 points and 12 rebounds and Andre Quarles look like a legit PG with 11 points and 12 assists. Like Game 2, the game was a lot more lopsided than the ending numbers.
Final - Sacramento 100 Seattle 116

Game Four
Needless to say, this is a key game in the series and everybody in the building knows it. Andre Miller tells the boys to just take it one possession and one shot at a time. Sound advice, but one that doesn't work when Vladimir Tupolev's hitting us for 27 points, Freddie Tackett's doubling for 15 points and 12 rebounds, Andre Quarles is getting 14 points and 10 assists and a newly healthy David Thornton is savaging us for 16 points. Damned frustrating loss as we waste Jim Johnson's excellent 23 point, 13 rebound game and William Tackett's 21 point effort. Our reserves get the blame on this one. Not only did they let Thornton run wild on them, they all shot for crap, best represented by Mike Vines going 3 for 13. Not the tie we wanted.
Final - Sacramento 92 Seattle 104

My only consolation is that the other series didn't end in a sweep. Nice to see the Celtics finally lose at least one game after bulldozing through the Bobcats and the Raptors.

Game Five
I know I say this just about every Game 5, but we need to win here. We haven't proven we can take a game in Seattle, so we need the safety net, badly. It's a tight game, especially when Freddie Tackett has 17 points and 10 rebounds, Scott Costello grabs 16 points and 12 rebounds, Andre Quarles scores 20 and David Thornton picks up 11 bench points. It's made even tighter when David Anyan has a forgettable 3 for 10 night. But then Jim Johnson chips in 16 points and 14 rebounds, Ray Fields finds his way to 21 points and 11 assists, Nigel Abel is a rapid-fire gunner with 15 points in 11 minutes and William Tackett explodes for 31 points to lead us to the victory and the 3-2 edge. What a sensational showing for the guy who's spent his first two years in the league proving 16 other teams were complete idiots for passing on him!
Final - Seattle 101 Sacramento 111

Boston lost a game, but only one, as they once again send Oswaldo Apolonario home short of an NBA Finals berth, beating the Hawks in 5 games. I really feel for the guy. Arguably the best center since Jonte Jones and he keeps getting stymied.

Game Six
But no time to commiserate with Apolonario. We've got history to write. Hopefully in Seattle. Unfortunately, it's history of the wrong kind, as Game 6 goes a lot like Game 3. 67-51 halftime Supersonics lead and we can't come back from that. Vladimir Tupolev singlehandedly destroys us with 36 points, though I suppose I should give a nod to Andre Quarles (10 points, 14 assists) and David Thornton (18 bench points) as well. We just didn't have the firepower to match, not even with David Anyan's 21 points and Nigel Abel's 12 bench points on a perfect 6 for 6 outing in 12 minutes. And now, we have to go to the death match.
Final - Sacramento 97 Seattle 115

Game Seven
The stands are full almost an hour and a half before the game starts. Everybody and I mean everybody is nervous and the tension is so heavy, not even a gaggle of Victoria's Secret models could alleviate it. It's hard for me to watch this game myself, because the hearts and hopes of an entire city, maybe even region, rest on this contest. And that tension is what kills us. We play our worst game of the postseason at the worst possible time. Seattle wins all four quarters. Freddie Tackett leads the way with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocks and a steal while Andre Quarles scores 26 and David Thornton keys the bench with 12 points. Our only statistically significant performance? Mike Vines's heroic 10 points and 8 rebounds off the bench as the old Kings hero tries futiley to will us to victory. What a heartbreaking way to end it all.
Final - Seattle 111 Sacramento 74

I'm going to numb myself by posting the regular season leaders.

Points
1. Justin Richler (TOR) - 30.9
2. Filip Mikulic (HOU) - 28.4
3. Marcelino Augusto (DAL) - 25.4

Assists
1. Ameirin Qipani (SA) - 13.6
2. Kenny Graham (CLE) - 12.8
3. Branko Starcevic (MIN) - 11.8
T7. William Tackett (SAC) - 10.2

Rebounds
1. Dontay Williamson (DEN) - 14.5
2. Oswaldo Apolonario (ATL) - 13.9
3. Charlie Joseph (POR) - 11.6
6. Terrence Howard (SAC) - 10.8

Blocks
1. Sonny Boxler (POR) - 3.5
2. Dontay Williamson (DEN) - 3.1
3. James Bellairs (IND) - 3.0

Steals
1. David Johnson (IND) - 2.1
T2. Curtis Wilkerson (ATL) - 1.9
T2. David Cormier (NO) - 1.9

Rookies Leaders

Points
1. Vladimir Raschupchin (MIA) - 17.2
2. Dorien Fletcher (NO) - 9.9
3. Billy Barrett (GS) - 9.6

I think that's a record for scoring for a rookie since I've joined the league. Wow.

Assists
1. John Nixon (ORL) - 3.7
2. Vladimir Raschupchin - 2.8
3. Nyah Boyce (ATL) - 2.2

Rebounds
1. Billy Barrett (GS) - 5.9
2. Ron Echols (POR) - 5.2
3. Ireneusz Kawczynski (HOU) - 4.7

Blocks
1. James Williams (DAL) - 1.2
T2. Dorien Fletcher (NO) - 0.8
T2. Ireneusz Kawczynski (HOU) - 0.8

Steals
1. Vladimir Raschupchin (MIA) - 1.1
2. Ireneusz Kawczynski (HOU) - 1.0
3. Billy Barrett (GS) - 0.8

Still bummed about the loss, but there's always next year.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:44 AM   #543
rjolley
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Location: Roseville, CA
Bad time to have a total breakdown in all areas.

Here's to a great season and hopefully a building block to a long run.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:40 AM   #544
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjolley View Post
Bad time to have a total breakdown in all areas.

Here's to a great season and hopefully a building block to a long run.

Thanks. Unfortunately, our biggest hole is going to be very hard to remedy, but we'll definitely make an effort to try and fill it.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:52 PM   #545
Izulde
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Searching For The Missing Piece

When GM Jestor arrived in Sacramento, he quickly took advantage of a lucrative cap situation and made a few trades to take the Kings from mid-tier playoff team to title contender in both of his first two seasons.

But as the narrower-than-it-looked escape from the Mavericks and the devastating Game 7 loss to the Sonics in the West Conference Finals, the second year in a row the Kings have lost there, the team still lacks a fundamental piece to make the breakthrough.

And that piece, which will be made even more critical as David Anyan gets older still and loses ever more accuracy off his shot, is a go-to scorer, the type that can consistently light up the opposition for 20 points a night and not have to throw up shot after shot to do it. The Toronto Raptors have had this for years in Justin Richler, the West Conference champion Seattle Supersonics have Vladimir Tupolev, the Suns relied on Rudolf Zyndram and even Jestor's own Nuggets had that banner carried by a then-in prime Mateen Yeaton.

It's the one thing this Kings team is missing and you can be sure Jestor will make every effort to fill that hole, for with a hotshot scorer comes a likely title.

***End Article***

Quite correct, in my opinion. However, finding one is going to prove difficult.

Then again, the Celtics don't have a go-to scorer, but they lose only two games the entire postseason, whipping the Sonics 4-1. On the other hand, Boston sports one of the most accurately shooting starting fives in the league, signified by Will Baron, who shoots over 50% in averaging 20 points a game.

The day after Boston wins their first title since 2013, I pick up the fourth year options on William Tackett and Jim "Twizzler" Johnson. They're two of the best draftees I've ever had not named Marcelino Augusto. Johnson in particular I'm hoping can develop into a legitimate second scoring option. He's certainly shown flashes of it in his first two seasons and in the playoffs.

NBA Lottery
14. New York Knicks
13. Detroit Pistons
12. Milwaukee Bucks
11. Portland Trailblazers
10. New York Knicks
9. Houston Rockets
8. San Antonio Spurs
7. Memphis Grizzlies (-1)
6. Denver Nuggets (-2)
5. Los Angeles Lakers (-2)
4. Golden State Warriors (-2)
3. Orlando Magic (+2)
2. Philadelphia 76ers
1. Denver Nuggets (+6)

Un-fucking-believable. The Nuggets win the lottery and get the #1 overall pick and have the #6 pick besides. Those bastards are living off the fat of my trades still. Those should be -my- two Top 6 selections. As if the West wasn't already tough enough with the resurgence of the Suns and the sudden acension of the Sonics.

NBA Awards
MVP
Oswaldo Apolonario - Atlanta Hawks - 22.8 PPG 13.9 RPG 3.5 APG 0.8 BPG 1.1 SPG
Defensive Player of the Year
Dontay Williamson - Denver Nuggets - 15.6 PPG 14.5 RPG 2.2 APG 3.1 BPG 0.7 SPG
Rookie of the Year
Vladimir Raschupchin - Miami Heat - 17.2 PPG 4.4 RPG 2.8 APG 0.0 BPG 1.1 SPG
6th Man of the Year
Phillip Smith - Boston Celtics - 9.3 PPG 7.6 RPG 1.2 APG 2.2 BPG 0.5 SPG
Coach of the Year
Rusty Scott - Phoenix Suns

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Kelvin Johnson - Orlando Magic
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 Ameirin Qipani - San Antonio Spurs
SG Justin Richler - Toronto Raptors
SF Marcus Reeves - Los Angeles Lakers
PF John Walker - Boston Celtics
C Patrick Riley - New Orleans Hornets

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG William Tackett - Sacramento Kings
SG Jerian McCrary - Portland Trailblazers
SF Russell Sims - Seattle Supersonics
PF Rashard Ferguson - Chicago Bulls
C Dontay Williamson - Denver Nuggets

All-Defense 1st Team
PG David Cormier - New Orleans Hornets
SG Rudolf Zyndram - Phoenix Suns
SF Vinston Henry - New Orleans Hornets
PF Deon Sterley - Memphis Grizzlies
C Dontay Williamson - Denver Nuggets

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Leland Peterson - Washington Wizards
SG Sonny Boxler - Portland Trailblazers
SF Russell Sims - Seattle Supersonics
PF Marcelino Augusto - Dallas Mavericks
C Patrick Riley - New Orleans Hornets

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG John Nixon - Orlando Magic
SG Vladimir Raschupchin - Miami Heat
SF Ireneusz Kawczynski - Houston Rockets
PF Billy Barrett - Golden State Warriors
C James Wiliams - Dallas Mavericks

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Cory O'Brien - Seattle Supersonics
SG Dorien Fletcher - New Orleans Hornets
SF Gerard Dudley - Denver Nuggets
PF Ron Echols - Portland Trailblazers
C Tony Ross - Dallas Mavericks

Tackett's All-NBA 3rd Team in just his second season was a surprising, but very welcome and vindicating award.

I'm shocked when Mateen Yeaton decides to hang on for one more year rather than retire. He told me that he still thinks he can contribute in some way and help bring the Kings a title. While I'll certainly bring him back, it won't be for more than the league minimum.

Will Langhi wasn't too happy with the fact that we were $2.67 million over the cap after the Ray Fields trade, but he said our nearly making the Finals made up for it.

There's tension at our meeting a few days later. I tell him we've got the pieces to make another deep playoff run, but when I point out it may cost us upwards of $10 million over the cap, he cuts me off and says, "You found a way to be close to or under the cap the past two seasons. Find a way to do it again."

My only consolation is that Bob Neal still owns the Nuggets, so it could be worse.

So it's time to hit the trade market and though it takes a little effort, we find a sweet deal.

Sacramento Kings receive
SF Shane Holliway
C Ryan Crews

Memphis Grizzlies receive
PG Ray Fields
Sacramento Kings 2028 1st round pick
Atlanta Hawks 2028 2nd round pick

What this means for the Kings
Holliway, 30, was a thorn in the side of GM Jestor's Nuggets teams his last two years in Denver and a primary reason why those teams were ousted in the first round by the Grizzlies. Last season was Holliway's first year breaking 20 points a game during the regular season, but he's been a blistering playoff presence, really turning it on the clutch. An average defender and rebounder, but with great stealing instincts. His ballhandling's a little weak, which could pose a problem, but the scoring he brings to the table more than makes up for it. Capable of playing every position on the floor save C, he tenatively slots in as Sacramento's starting SG. Crews is a fairly average bench big and one of Jestor's first draft picks with the Kings, along with Jim Johnson and William Tackett.

What this means for the Grizzlies
After Memphis failed to make the playoffs last season, Holliway wanted out and they get a pretty nice return for him. The 33 year old Fields played excellently out of both guard spots for Sacramento after being acquired at the deadline and was a steady force at PG during the playoffs. The Fields/William Tackett combination worked so well, the Grizzlies are going to try the same pairing of lethal passing guards, with Bernard Kelly at the 1 and Fields at the 2. Thus, the Grizzlies have the deadliest backcourt in the NBA right now and a 1st and 2nd round pick in the bargain (though the first is likely a late selection). Fields is also an expiring $13 million contract after this season.

Winner: Draw
Hugely beneficial move for both teams. The Grizzlies get a much more robust backcourt, financial flexibility and a couple draft choices to build for the future, while the Kings get a player who could be the missing link in their quest for a championship.

Although it may have been a little steep, I really like the addition of Holliway, who allows us to move Tackett back to PG and prevents us from going into panic mode over trying to find a primary scorer through the draft or free agency. I find it especially noteworthy that we were able to land him without having to give up the Utah selection next year, which should be much better than our own. Speaking of the draft, we can now put ourselves in a position to select the BPA, rather than trying to shoot for a scorer.

Coach Hiring

We snap up former NBA star Terry Porter on a 4 year deal to be our first assistant, but miss out on Quin Crispin for our 2nd assistant when the Clippers pull the shocking move of hiring him as their head coach at a dirt-cheap $680k a year for 4 years.

No problem, though, as we hire Don Newman instead, giving us what is arguably one of the stronger staffs I've had.

Mock Draft
With the 16th pick in the draft, we're projected to take Utah senior SG Alan Lentz. ...Yeah, that'll happen when the early scouting reports list him as lacking consistency.

There's a glut of really good PGs in this draft. In fact, it's probably the most PG rich one I've ever seen. It's also a very young draft. Lot of 18 and 19 year olds dominating the 1st round in the mocks. PF Dennis Edwards, a 19 year old one and done at Indiana, is the most polished player in the class and a consensus #1 overall pick to Denver, though in my opinion, he's a little too soft on defense.

Terrible draft for centers and there's not much in the way of swingmen either. Decent for PF, but not fantastic. It really is a PG-heavy class and quite ridiculously so.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:44 PM   #546
Izulde
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There's a player I'm absolutely fascinated with who I'm sure won't fall to me. Basically, he's a lot like Oswaldo Apolonario was, an extremely raw player with franchise-level talent. He also plays SG, an area of need for us. Be interesting to see where he goes.

2027 NBA Draft 1st Round
1. C Tony Bryson - Denver Nuggets

?! I don't believe I just saw that! They have Dontay Williamson; what do they need with another C, even one as undersized as Bryson? I don't get this pick at all.

2. PF Dennis Edwards - Philadelphia 76ers

Celebration in the city of Brotherly Love as the 76ers just got the gift of the class's best player.

3. SG Stephen Wilson - Orlando Magic
4. PG Bryan Hankar - Golden State Warriors
5. SG Russell Thompson - Los Angeles Lakers

And there goes the Apolonario type project. Not too surprising he went this high, as a lot of the initially promising draftees had horrible workouts for us.

6. PF Tommy Kent - Denver Nuggets

Yeah, see, they pass on Edwards for this guy. Dumb move.

7. C Kevin Horan - Memphis Grizzlies
8. SG Joe Ward - San Antonio Spurs
9. C Benjamin Williams - Houston Rockets

Now at this point, there's two players I really like, one much more than the other, but I don't know that he's worth trading up for just yet. We'll wait and see what happens.

10. SF Joseph Zinn - New York Knicks
11. PG Kaluj Kazlauskas - Portland Trailblazers
12. C Tony Cooper - Milwaukee Bucks

Cooper was a guy I thought about if he was still around for our pick, which I thought he'd be. Not a great player, but you can't teach 7'4, 301 lbs.

I'm starting to get nervous now about the guy I prefer being taken, so I give Detroit a call. They want more than I'm willing to ante up and are primed to take a PG anyway, so I let it slide.

13. PG Justin Myers - Detroit Pistons

The Knicks and I try to hammer out a trade, but there's just nothing working here, so I watch with nervousness as they make their selection.

14. SG Alan Lentz - New York Knicks

At this point, we're guaranteed at least one of the players I'm interested in, but my preference for the one is so much stronger that I contact the Clippers anyway. But they're not willing to flip picks and I'm swearing as I wait for the name to come up.

15. C Chris Long - Los Angeles Clippers

YES!!!! With Sweet 16, my favorite number, I'll be able to draft the player I'm most coveting.

16. PF Ferdinand Kallenberger - Sacramento Kings

6'9, 228 lb German who showed some good shooting and defensive potential. Although listed as a PF, his game focuses on the jumper and with his build, he's actually more like a SF. Showed off great versatility on defense in the combine and our workouts, able to guard everybody from the smallest PGs to some of the average sized PFs. I'm absolutely thrilled to be able to get him. Oh yeah, he's also got exquisite intangibles. A real team guy who busts his ass off like nobody else in the draft class.

The talking heads like the pick too.

17. PG Daniel Warley - Charlotte Bobcats
18. PF Khalid Sarchet - Minnesota Timberwolves

This guy took the biggest tumble of anybody I've seen in a long, long time. Originally projected as a Top 5-10 pick, he dropped all the way to 18 by showing indifference to defense and one of the worst work ethics ever seen out of a college kid. If Kallenberger had gone off the board, I would've taken Sarchet, because at this stage in the draft, a pure scorer like this kid is worth some serious coin, no matter how lazy he is. If he pans out, the T-Wolves have a steal on their hands. If he doesn't, no harm, no foul.

19. SG Ryan Jones - New Orleans Hornets
20. PF Jason Perry - Washington Wizards
21. C Wesley Worley - Chicago Bulls

Unbelievably bad drafting by the Bulls here. He's a mid-late 2nd rounder at best.

22. SG Isaac Campbell - Indiana Pacers

This one's almost as bad, especially with David Johnson on the roster.

23. PG Rodney Chappel - Miami Heat
24. SF Andrey McSwain - Seattle Supersonics

No way in hell McSwain should still be here at #24. I was considering between him and Sarchet if we wouldn't have been able to get our man at #16. A filthy steal for the Supersonics, maybe even on the level of William Tackett.

25. PG Kenyatta Bennett - Dallas Mavericks

Sensational value pick by Dallas. Not only do they finally have a true PG, they have one who can become a pretty good one in Bennett. Not happy to see the top teams in our conference draft so well, but what can you do?

26. PG Josh Tyler - Atlanta Hawks
27. PF Jermar Johnson - Cleveland Cavaliers

Jim "Twizzler" Johnson he's not, but still a great value selection.

28. PF Kelland Few - Phoenix Suns
29. SG William Jefferson - Utah Jazz
30. C Antonio Clark - Boston Celtics

Our initial look at Kallenberger after the draft suggests he doesn't have much upside, though some and he's still considerably raw. Disappointing, but with his work ethic, maybe he can be another Jim Johnson, the kind that quietly gets better. Still, he should be good enough to see significant minutes in his rookie season.

We renounce all our contracts and end up with $5.85 million in cap room, just enough to make a move for a player at slightly above mid-level exemption and then bring in a couple min-sal deals to flesh out the roster.

Summer League
PF Jim Johnson
PF Ferdinand Kallenberger
C Ryan Crews

Defense rules in our 90-75 summer opening win against the Bucks. Most noteworthy performance is reserve Will Wooley's 10 points, but at least Jim Johnson is looking much more accurate this year.

Close 83-78 loss to the Wizards, with no standout performances, though from what I've seen of Ferdinand Kallenberger so far, he's an extremely accurate shooter who needs to learn how to be more aggressive with his shot-taking.

Back to the positive side with an 86-79 victory over the Spurs and Edmond Ford breaks out for 23 points. Ford intrigues me as a bench player. Hustles on defense and has enough offensive game to be a worthy sparkplug with the second team. But we'll have to see what's out there first.

Edmond Ford duplicates his 23 points and benchman Mike Poole adds 10 points, but we get spanked 99-83 by the Jazz. Not too worried since most of the damage came from Utah's reserves, so it's not like our roster players were the ones slacking.

Last game of the summer's an 81-70 win in Toronto, Edmond Ford leading the way with 21 points, Aubrey Prato scoring 10 off the bench. Ford's definitely earned himself a long look from us in free agency.

Free Agency

Hold me tight. This is an absolutely phenomenal free agent crop. I'll just start listing names.

SG Justin Richler
C Oswaldo Apolonario
SG Rudolf Zyndram
SG Georgi Dimov
SG Nigel Abel
PF Michael Woods
SG Kyle Hoiberg
PF Bill Towns
SF Georghios Kairis
PG Caleb James
PG Filip Svorda
PF Kelvin Moody
SF Kevin Durant
C Jonte Jones
C Narcyz Malinomowski
SF Tariel Abashize

And that's just the biggest names. There's other familiar ones here, like Ronald King, Mike Vines, Kenny Graham, Mateen Yeaton, etc, but they're either second-tier or faded. To be honest, a lot of those sexy names you see up there, like Towns, Jones, Durant, Moody, Malinomowski, etc. are in the twilight of their careers, too, but in my opinion, they're good enough to draw attention.

As you might expect, the big names all re-join their teams in the early going. 6th Man of the Year Phillip Smith cashes in on that award and his ring to get a 5 year, $44.6 mil. deal from the Bucks. Good for him.

The Raptors make a huge splash, not only re-signing Justin Richler, but stealing away Caleb James on a 5 year, $53 million contract. Remnisicent of the days when they used to make great free agent raids to set up their original dynasty.

I'm sorely tempted to give Tariel Abashize a fat contract, but the more I look at him and the more I hear reports of his laziness in Washington, the more I'm dis-inclined to pursue him.

Instead, I spend our cap space on Filip Svorda snapping him up on a very reasonable 2 year, $12.1 mil. deal. He'll push William Tackett for the starting PG spot and give us a fantastic 6th man in any case. I've always liked Svorda; he's a great all-around PG who never really got much of a chance.

With what's left, I return Mateen Yeaton and bring back an old favorite in Winston Smith on min-sal deals, putting us at $2.28 mil. over the cap. Will Langhi will grumble, but if we can get to the Finals, he'll be okay with it.

On that same day, Jonte Jones goes to the Lakers of all teams on a 5 year, $32.3 mil. contract, Bill Towns jumps conferences, swerving to the Nets for 5 years, $32.3 mil. and Edmond Ford re-signs with the Pistons for 4 years, $12.9 mil. Tariel Abashize re-signs with the Heat (5 years, $21.7 mil.), the Hawks grab Waldemar Althusser at 5 years, $32.3 mil and the Raptors make another headline grabbing free agent signing, handing Georghiois Kairis a 5 year, $32.3 mil. deal aka a maxed out mid-level exemption.

We had a mid-level exemption sitting around too, but Mr. Langhi told me he'd drive me to San Francisco and throw me off the Golden Gate Bridge if I dared use it.

So what do I do when he tells me that? Cheerfully tell him to go to hell and re-sign Nigel Abel to a one year mid-level exemption, putting us $7.78 mil. over the cap. Nigel told me after he faxed in the contract immediately after I offered it to him that he'd been waiting all summer to come back to Sacramento, because we have the look of destiny about this year. The Chicago Bulls were absolutely furious, as were about 5 or 6 other teams who had mid-level offers out to him.

Narcyz Malinomowski continues the trend of aging centers shifting locations, hopping on board Minnesota for a one year deal and I forget what kind of money.

Other signings of note: Greg Oden to the Pistons on a min-sal, former Nuggets starter Antawn Carson to the Celtics for an absurdly cheap two year min-sal and Ronald King going to Milwaukee, also for a min-sal, albeit just one year.

Training Camp

David Anyan and Mateen Yeaton looked significantly slower in camp and I probably won't be bringing Anyan back after this season, unless he comes in at a real cut-rate price. Jim "Twizzler" Johnson showed even more improvement and we could see a breakout season from him. Ferdinand Kallenberger showed some nice strides as well, which has me positively giddy. But also on the downside, Terrence Howard really looked old and out of shape and Winston Smith didn't look so hot, either.

Although we're projected 7th in the West in most preview mags, 2nd in the Pacific behind the West favorite Clippers, I have to say excitement is high here in Sacramento. This, in my opinion, is one of the deepest, most talented teams I've ever assembled and that includes some of my Nuggets editions. True, we don't have that elite scorer, but I feel like we have enough offense to go around. I'm not buying the Clippers as the top choice in the West. Quin Crispin isn't that good a coach and Travann Patterson at C is a deathkiss. I'm not sold on the Hornets #2, either. Or the Rockets #3 for that matter. The Jazz at #4 is a laugh. It's not until the Spurs at #5 that I can start taking the rankings seriously and the Sonics picked up Martin Beerbohm in free agency to be their new C.

Honestly, if I were to rate it, it'd go like this:

1. Seattle Supersonics
2. Sacramento Kings
3. Denver Nuggets (depending on how their two high-profile rookies develop)
4. Dallas Mavericks

The Suns have both Chris Adams and Milan Nouge starting, which eliminates them as a contender in my opinion.

The East have a lot of possible contenders and while I don't completely disagree with the Bulls #1, Pacers #2, Nets #3, 76ers #4, Celtics #5, I take strong issue with the ordering and the Hawks at #7. Toronto will be a playoff team as well, not 11th and 4th in the Atlantic.

2027 Sacramento Kings Opening Night Roster
PG William Tackett
SG Shane Holliway
SF David Anyan
PF Jim Johnson
C Terrence Howard
6th Filip Svorda (PG/SG)
7th Nigel Abel (SG)
8th Ferdinand Kallenberger (SF/PF)
9th Ryan Crews (PF/C)
10th Brandon Edmond (SF/PF/C)
11th Mateen Yeaton (PG/SG/SF)
12th Justin Cherry (PG/SG/SF)

Inactive
Tzvetan Kishishev (SF/PF/C)
Winston Smith (PF/C)

This is going to be one damned exciting team to watch.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:09 AM   #547
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
These are exciting times to live in if you're an NBA fan. We're in a Golden Age, thanks to a thrilling group of youngsters, such as the Nine Knights and unlike the Raptors/Nuggets era of the last decade, there's a nucleus of really great teams that are extremely enjoyable to watch play.

Attendance is up around the league, interest is skyrocketing and for the first time since the 1980s, the NBA can truly assert itself as a legitimate major league sport, rather than the niche category it was threatening to fall into during the 1990s and early 2000s. It's helped not only by terrific players, both veteran and young and the oligarchy of elite teams, but by an explosion in international players as the league's stars. For perhaps the first time in its lengthy history, the NBA is truly home to the world's best and brightest basketball players, from all nations.

That my Kings are one of the premiere teams, fashioned out of some of the best players of the Raptors/Nuggets decade and terrific youngsters, makes it all the sweeter. Now if we can only bring home that long dreamt-of championship to this city.

Oh, a minor note. It's actually Filip Svorada, not Svorda. His name gets misspelled all the time, so he wasn't too upset about it, though he did stop by my office to correct me on it.

It's with some nervousness that I anticipate Opening Night in Dallas on Halloween. The Mavericks and the Spurs the next night are arguably one of the best litmus tests we could start the year with.

Much to my shock and horror, we lose both games. Dallas beats us 107-100 as Marcelino Augusto tears us apart for 31 points and 12 rebounds. Shane Holliway has an awful 5 for 17 Kings debut and the shine's taken off of Terrence Howard's 20 points and 13 rebounds, William Tackett's 13 points and 10 assists and Ferdinand Kallenberger's sterling 6 of 7 from the floor, 14 point debut. Damian Thomas dismantles us the next night for 35 points in the 115-100 loss to the Spurs. Terrence Howard comes through with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Shane Holliway sets things right with 24 points, William Tackett picks up 17 points and 12 assists and Brandon Edmond scores 10 off the bench, but David Anyan has shot 27% his first two game and Jim Johnson looks uncomfortable with taking a shot.

It doesn't get any better after a wild 125-120 loss in Houston. David Anyan recovers to score 24, Terrence Howard is steady with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Filip Svorada amazes in his starting debut with 26 points and 15 assists, Shane Holliway scores 25 and Brandon Edmond chips in another 10 bench points, but we can't play defense against -anybody-.

We finally get a win on the front end of a doubleheader, beating Toronto 98-93 in our first home game, but it's not a comfortable victory. David Anyan scores 22, Terrence Howard plugs in 17 points and 12 rebounds, Filip Svorada doubles for 20 points and 10 assists, with Nigel Abel adding 10 bench points. Unfortunately, we lose the next night in Seattle, 108-95. Jim "Twizzler" Johnson has been held to 0 points the last two games. Hard to win under those conditions, even when Filip Svorada has 18 points and 14 assists, Brandon Edmond hauls in 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and Ferdinand Kallenberger comes up with 12 bench points.

Still, I'm not going to pull the trigger just yet. I'm going to wait a few more games to see if we can't get this sorted out.

But we lose 103-93 to Phoenix, discarding David Anyan's 25 points, Terrence Howard's 11 points and 14 rebounds and Brandon Edmond's 10 points and 11 rebounds to lead the second team. Filip Svorada rescues us the next night with 22 points and 11 assists, teaming with David Anyan's 19 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Edmond's 13 bench rebounds to lift us 101-84 over the Nuggets. We really needed that morale booster.

Then we're hit with a 117-101 loss to the Bulls, ruining Jim Johnson's 14 points and 11 rebounds, Terrence Howard's 15 points and 11 rebounds and William Tackett's 22 points as starting SG in relief of the injured Shane Holliway.

I've seen quite enough.

Sacramento Kings receive
PF Ronnie Fry
Memphis Grizzlies 2029 2nd round pick
Memphis Grizzlies 2030 2nd round pick

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SF Shane Holliway

What this means for the Kings
Holliway's addition was somewhat curious in that GM Jestor has always preferred Fry to Holliway. Now, with the Kings in disarray and deperately in need of a turnaround, they pick up 25 year old Fry, a legitimate 20+ point per game scorer who can also rebound and play solid, denying defense. For now, he'll slide in at PF, with Jim Johnson as the starting C while Terrence Howard nurses a back injury.

What this means for the Grizzlies
Memphis is off to a stunning 6-1 start, but Fry doesn't get along with the coaching staff at all and demanded out from the Grizzlies. Holliway, who had similiar problems, comes back after a failed, short stint with the Kings, his inability to be the go-to man largely blamed for Sacramento's surprising struggles. Perhaps now that he's back to his native SF spot, he can revert to his old, winning form.

Winner: Sacramento
Jestor needed to do -something- to shake things up and picking up Fry and a pair of second rounders for the biggest scapegoat should do much to alleviate the problem. The Kings are far too talented to be 2-6, so perhaps this can be the tonic they need for what ails them. Memphis, on the other hand, risks disrupting their fast start and chemistry.

Ironically enough, our next game is against the Grizzlies and we crush them 115-94 in the night's most highly anticipated matchup. David Anyan not only roars for 30 points, but holds Shane Holliway to 3 points on 1 for 9 shooting. Jim Johnson gets 16 points and 11 rebounds after getting the start at C, William Tackett scores 22 and Filip Svorada serves up 11 points and 14 assists.

It feels like a whole new team out there as we rout Milwaukee 121-101 on David Anyan's second straight 30 point game. Jim Johnson explodes for 24 points and 10 rebounds, Ronnie Fry contributes a modest 11 points and 12 rebounds while playing ferocious D with Anyan, William Tackett scores 23, Filip Svorada nabs 11 points and 17 assists and Terrence Howard puts up 12 bench points.

Revenge is sweet as Ronnie Fry blisters the Rockets for 28 points and 10 rebounds in our 114-105 triumph. Filip Svorada continues to make the most of his starting opportunity with 15 points and 15 assists and Terrence Howard rampages from the bench for 22 points.

We march back to .500 on the wings of David Anyan and Ronnie Fry's 25 and 23 points in our 121-93 beatdown of the Lakers. Filip Svorada accrues 19 points and 15 assists and Nigel Abel and Terrence Howard lead the reserves with 12 points a piece.

For the first time this young season, we see the light of a winning record after we demolish the Timberwolves 110-81. Ronnie Fry rumbles for 20 points and 10 rebunds, William Tackett scores 22, David Anyan nets 21 points and Filip Svorada picks up 13 points and 11 assists.

The Grizzlies pay us back, beating us 115-96 in Memphis to halt our winning streak. Filip Svorada scores 23, Jim Johnson has 13 points and 15 rebounds, William Tackett scores 20 and Terrence Howard has 10 bench rebounds, but they were out for blood. No problem though, as we recover the next night to win 110-101 in New Orleans. Ronnie Fry almost singlehandedly does it with 27 points and 11 rebounds, but he gets a literal assist from Filip Svorada (18 points, 13 assists) and Terrence Howard (16 points, 11 rebounds off the bench).

After all that, we're 8-7, fortunate to be just a game behind Phoenix in the Pacific. The West is absolutely brutal in the early going this season, though. Dallas is 14-2, San Antonio's 11-5, Portland's 10-4 and Memphis, despite cooling off, is still 10-6.

In the East, the Nets and Raptors are deadlocked atop the Atlantic, New Jersey's 9-6 giving them the nominal edge. The Central hosts a shocking 11-3 Detroit and 11-4 Indiana and only 6-9 Cleveland is below .500 in that just filthy division. 9-4 has Washington 2.5 half up on the Hawks after the first month.

Nasty roller coaster to start the year, but Memphis's eagerness to dump Ronnie Fry has, I think, saved our season from reaching a point that it'd be difficult to come back from. I'm not saying we'll surge all the way back to a #1 or even a #2 seed, but we're playing a hell of a lot better basketball now since that thievery I pulled off.
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:05 PM   #548
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Utah Jazz receive
PG Louis Mertens
Miami Heat 2028 2nd round pick

Miami Heat receive
PF Marcus Givens

What this means for the Jazz
Mertens has made a career out of being an exceptional pass-first guard off the bench, if a sieve on defense and nothing's changed now that he's 30 years old. The Jazz are now pretty deep at PG, also having 25 year old Troy Collins as a respectable, more balanced option on the second team.

What this means for the Heat
Miami's rebuilding project hasn't exactly gone off according to plan and so they get a little younger with the 27 year old Givens, who has been little more than an average bench player in his four years and change in the league. Strictly a forward to boot.

Winner: Utah
Mertens is the kind of floor general that can make things happen, especially against a team's weaker subs, whereas Givens seems to be just a move to make a move.

Denver Nuggets receive
SF Calvis Hayes

Memphis Grizzlies receive
Denver Nuggets 2028 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Rookie Tommy Kent is too raw to start yet, so Denver picks up Hayes, a 27 year old who's never gotten a starting spot, but has a pretty good offensive game and very good defensive skills to step in at SF until Kent's ready.

What this means for the Grizzlies
Hayes wasn't used much in Memphis, but that second rounder isn't going to bring in a player as good as he is in all likelihood. One wonders what's going on with the Grizzlies, who have a number of extremely unhappy players, including Bernard Kelly and Deon Sterley.

Winner: Denver
The Nuggets rob the Grizzlies here and it's almost like GM Jestor is back in town.

We're now $9.38 mil. over the cap and Will Langhi warns me we'd better play a lot better than 8-7 or I could be out of a job pretty soon.

Although we need a fourth quarter comeback to do it, we start things off right with a 118-109 victory over the Pacers. Filip Svorada is my latest PG find it seems, as he racks up 28 points, 14 assists and 5 steals. Jim Johnson thunders for 27 points and 10 rebounds, David Anyan and William Tackett each score 20 and Terrence Howard bolsters with 14 bench points.

The glittering rings on the defending champion Celtics fail to frighten in our 122-101 win. David Anyan scores 22, Ronnie Fry doubles for 20 points and 15 rebounds, Jim Johnson scores 20, Filip Svorada issues 17 points and 14 assists and Terrence Howard adds 12 points off the bench.

Filip Svorada scores 23 as we blow out the Bobcats 114-87. Ronnie Fry has 14 points and 11 rebounds, but it's really our bench players who step up in this one. Terrence Howard amasses 18 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks, while Nigel Abel scores 10.

The first game of our next road doubleheader is a defensive dream, a 90-68 win over the T-wolves where we hold Minnesota to 26.9% shooting. Filip Svorada leads the way on offense with an excellent around game of 22 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds, Ronnie Fry compiles 24 points and 11 rebounds and Terrence Howard narrowly misses a bench double-double with 9 points and 9 rebounds. Our win streak ends the next night, 118-94 in Indiana. David Anyan scores 21 and Jim Johnson gets the dime-store double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but overall we played like garbage.

No problems though as we take all four quarters in boarding the win train again, 127-101 in Milwaukee. William Tackett explodes for 31 points, Ronnie Fry adds on 24 points, Filip Svorada tosses out 17 points and 16 assists and Terrence Howard comes off the bench for 14 points and 12 rebounds.

We stomp the Lakers 105-79 next game, keyed by David Anyan's 30 points, Ronnie Fry's 13 points and 18 rebounds, William Tackett's 23 points and Filip Svorada's 17 points and 11 assists.

The Hornets are completely hamstrung, with just two players in double-digit points and a high of 14 points in our 119-69 slaughter. 7 Kings hit double-digit points as we carry that balanced offense all the way to the bank. Terrence Howard gathers in 15 points and 10 rebounds and Tzvetan Kishishev scores 10 points in 11 minutes.

As if that 50 point win wasn't impressive enough, we win by 42 in strangling the Wizards 122-80. David Anyan scores 25, Ronnie Fry and Jim Johnson double for 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 points, 16 rebounds respectively and Nigel Abel and Terrence Howard highlight the bench with 15 and 16 points respectively. In all, another 7 Kings reach double-digit points.

Miami actually plays us comparatively close, but in the end Ronnie Fry's 24 points and Terrence Howard's 13 bench points sink them in our 113-99 victory.

The Warriors come to town determined to spoil our Christmas Even, but we only allow them to keep it marginally exciting with a second half rally before we stop them 109-100. Ronnie Fry has 28 points and 11 rebounds, Jim Johnson 10 points and 10 rebounds. Filip Svorada dazzles with 23 points and 12 assists and Nigel Abel rampages off the bench for 20 points.

Utah pours it on in the fourth quarter and we fritter away our lead, dropping our first game in a while at 104-95. David Anyan scores 20, William Tackett gets 21 points and Jim Johnson pulls down 15 points and 17 rebounds, but we had problems shooting all night, especially at the end of the game.

Luckily we have a happy New Year's Eve, thwacking the Spurs 110-86 in front of the home fans. 6 Kings score 13 points or more, led by Ronnie Fry's 26 points and 11 rebounds, David Anyan's 21 points, Filip Svorada's 13 points and 10 assists and Justin Cherry's 13 bench points. Yes, -that- Justin Cherry, who's finally seeing the kind of PT he hasn't since his rookie year in Denver.

What a difference a great month makes. We've gone from 8-7 to 19-9 and are leading the Pacific by a game over Phoenix. More significantly, we've leapt from a low seed to a solid #3 and we can see 22-8 Dallas and 22-10 Memphis within our sights. The Northwest is a dogfight, with 16-13 Portland tied with Utah for the division and those two just a half-game in front of the Supersonics and Nuggets.

Things are even tighter in the East, where 19-10 Detroit is the #1 team, but they're only half a game and a game respectively ahead of Indiana and Milwaukee in the Central. Meanwhile, you've 19-12 Toronto 2 games in front of the Nets (the defending champion Celtics are a surprising 15-15) and, in the only bit of stretching room in the conference, 17-12 Washington is 4 up on the Hawks, who are 13-16. Not only are the Wizards the only .+500 team in the Southeast, they and the Hawks are the only two teams with 10 wins or more. Sad, sad divison that Southeast is, but then again, it's been the weakest of the East in all the 20some years I've been in this league.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:45 AM   #549
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Dallas Mavericks receive
PG Craig Shehan
Portland Trailblazers 2028 2nd round pick

Portland Trailblazers receive
C Tony Ross
PF Brian Lewis

What this means for the Mavericks
Shehan can steal the ball and that's about it. He can't guard anyone, can't score points and at 35, isn't a very good passer anymore. A min-sal contract isn't anything to get excited about either. Worse yet, he's cutting into rookie Kenyatta Bennett's playing time.

What this means for the Trailblazers
Ross and Lewis are both 24 year old 2nd round picks, with little value, though Lewis serves as a defensive specialist. Unfortunately, he's also last and least on the Blazers bench.

Winner: Portland
A yawner of a trade, but at least Portland gets a player of marginal role value in Lewis.

I forgot to mention that at the beginning of last month, I sent Ferdinand Kallenberger down to Bakersfield, because he simply wasn't able to fight for much playing time after we acquired Ronnie Fry. He's the starting SF for the Otters and in 8 starts, he's averaging 10.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.4 steals. Hopefully the seasoning down in the D-Leagues will prep him to take a more active role next year.

Our first two games of the New Year are on the road and it's an Atlantic split. The Knicks humiliate us 110-84 holding us to 26 points in the second half. Not a good way to respond to Filip Svorada's 34 points or Ronnie Fry's 18 points and 10 rebounds, the only two Kings in double-digit figures. The Raptors are much more hospitable the next night and we beat them 113-104 behind Ronnie Fry's 27 points, David Anyan's 21 points and what is arguably Jim "Twizzler" Johnson's best game as a pro, good for 16 points and 21 rebounds. Terrence Howard scores 10 off the bench.

Another road doubleheader and the first one's a vicious battle in Atlanta. Oswaldo Apolonario abuses us for 40 points and 14 rebounds and Antonio Sarchet blasts us for 23 points and 10 rebounds. We withstand the nasty Hawks second half rally though and escape with a 105-100 win. Filip Svorada and William Tackett combine for 23 and 21 points and Nigel Abel and Justin Cherry each score 10 points to lead the reserves. Terrence Howard hauls in 11 bench rebounds. But the victory comes at a terrible price as Ronnie Fry breaks his leg and is out for a month and a half. And yet we hammer the Hornets 116-95 the next night as David Anyan scores 33, Terrence Howard makes a triumphant return to the starting lineup with 22 points and 11 rebounds and Filip Svorada is everywhere with 25 points, 13 assists and 5 steals.

The Nuggets blow us out 100-77 despite David Anyan's 23 points and Brandon Edmond's 10 bench points. 38.8% shooting just isn't going to cut it. I hate losing to Denver.

But then our defense stiffens up in the fourth quarter, allowing us to beat the Jazz 107-94. David Anyan scores 25, Jim Johnson doubles for 12 points and 14 rebounds, William Tackett scores 22, Filip Svorada dishes out 10 points and 15 assists and Brandon Edmond chips in 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

We pick up another win, 112-90, against the Clippers as Filip Svorada rises for 26 points and 12 assists, Jim Johnson scores 25, Terrence Howard pulls in 16 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks and Brandon Edmond leads the second team with 11 points.

Another doubleheader, this one a sweep. The Clippers get destroyed 114-87 on David Anyan's 29 points, Jim Johnson's 23 points and 12 rebounds and Terrence Howard's 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. Our 124-95 stomping of the Traiblazers is keyed by David Anyan (24 points), Terrence Howard (16 points, 12 rebounds), and Nigel Abel's 13 bench points as the 6th King to score 13 or more.

I'm not sure why these Fry-less Kings is finding ways to win where we didn't at the beginning of the year without him, but we roll the Cavaliers 116-95 as David Anyan heats up for 32 points, Filip Svorada grabs 26 points and 10 assists and Jim Johnson scores 20.

Look gift horse in mouth, get bitten. We lose 99-92 to the Spurs, unable to complete a comeback. Nice 25 points from David Anyan, 18 points and 10 rebounds from Jim Johnson and 10 bench points from Brandon Edmond, but we had shooting woes most of the night, especially in the second quarter.

I'm really wishing I'd kept my mouth shut as the Nets demolish us 132-110. What good is 20 points from David Anyan and reserve Nigel Abel along with Filip Svorada's 16 points and 14 assists when all five New Jersey starters score at least 16 points? Ugh.

Ironic that an away back-to-back stops the bleeding, but it does. 124-98 in San Antonio as David Anyan scores 29, Filip Svorada blitzes for 23 points and 16 assists, Nigel Abel scores 16 off the bench, Brandon Edmond mixing in 8 points and 10 rebounds. Balance nets us a 106-86 win in Houston the next evening, with double-doubles from Jim Johnson (18 points, 13 rebounds), Terrence Howard (16 points, 13 rebounds), Filip Svorada (11 points, 18 assists) and Brandon Edmond (12 points, 11 rebounds off bench). Factor in William Tackett's 22 points and Nigel Abel's 11 bench points and you have the makings of a comfortable victory.

114-88 over Minnesota on the strength of William Tackett's 23 points, David Anyan's 21 points, Filip Svorada's 13 points and 14 assists and 3 bench players in double digits: Justin Cherry with 11 points and Nigel Abel and Brandon Edmond with 10 points each.

I'm thrilled with the 130-87 stunning of the Sonics on the front end of a doubleheader, not least because Brandon Edmond rockets off the bench for 27 points, just 3 off his career high. David Anyan and William Tackett combine for 25 and 24 points and Filip Svorada repeats his 13 point, 14 assist line from last game. Unfortunately, we end the month on a down note, losing 117-103 in Oakland. The 61-44 halftime deficit was too much for us to overcome, even with 24 points a piece from David Anyan and Filip Svorada, the latter adding 10 assists besides.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how we've handled ourselves since losing Ronnie Fry. 10-4 after his injury isn't a magnificient record by any means, but I'll take it. 31-14, with a slender lead of just half a game on the Suns right now. On the flip side, we're ever closer to catching up to the 33-14 Mavericks and even a half-game ahead of the 30-14 Grizzlies. Much to my annoyance, the Jazz, whose 1st rounder we hold, are leading the Northwest at 27-19, even though the Nuggets, Sonics and Trailblazers are all just a game behind. Still, like I said, it's a golden era for the NBA and if the playoffs were held today, 25-22 San Antonio would be sitting home.

How strange it is to see 29-15 Indiana and 30-16 Detroit as the class of the East, deadlocked atop the Central. 24-22 earns Toronto a 2 game lead on the Celtics and Knicks in the Atlantic, while 23-21 is enough for the Wizards to stay a game in front of the Hawks. Tons of parity in the East this year, although it's worth noting that the fourth place team in the Central, the 23-20 Bulls, would be the leaders in the other two divisions.

Still, a group of stellar teams in one conference and rampant parity in the other is good for the league and the fans. Allows you to watch both quality and competitive basketball.

23 days until Ronnie Fry comes back. Thank God for the short month and the All-Star break coming up.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:20 AM   #550
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Houston Rockets receive
PF Jeff Emmanuel

Golden State Wariors receive
C Jimmy Johnson
Houston Rockets 2028 1st round pick

What this means for the Rockets
Emmanuel, 24 and in his 5th season, was taken 9th overall in his class, but has never been more than an average bench player, with no standout qualities. He's still that in Houston, the 8th man, which makes the trade for him extremely puzzling from the Rockets' perspective. He's also got a fairly lengthy contract.

What this means for the Warriors
This Jim Johnson won't be mistaken for Sacramento's Jim "Twizzler" Johnson, especially since he's 35 and made a career of somehow managing to hang around benches despite being a poor player. The real value, of course, is the 1st round pick, which should be a late lottery selection. Of course, this JJ offers the benefit of an expiring $4.17 mill. contract.

Winner: Golden State
Even if this was just a 1st rounder for Emmanuel, it'd be an absolutely confounding trade for the Rockets. Johnson for Emmanuel would've made much more sense and been fair to the Warriors, along with a 2nd rounder or two, given the financial situation. Houston's chance to challenge for a title, when they spent all those high picks on swingmen, is long since passed and foolish moves like this only increase the length of the rebuilding project.

Charlotte Bobcats receive
SF Kenneth Towns
Minnesota Timberwolves 2028 2nd round pick

Minnesota Timberwolves receive
SG Adrian Wilson
PG Joe Richardson

What this means for the Bobcats
The 25 year old Towns has some great talent as a rebounder and defender and has a pretty good offensive game as well, but after starting the first two years in Minnesota, he lost his spot to Samaki McKenzie and was understandably angry about it. As a 6th man, he's fantastic and he's quite frankly good enough to be a starter, both for the T-Wolves and the Bobcats.

What this means for the Timberwolves
Wilson's an average bench player with no upside, even at 24, while Richardson lacks the scoring instinct that could make him a valuable sparkplug reserve, though at 24, maybe he can develop it. That's not likely though, and these two check in as the 12th man and a D-league respectively.

Winner: Charlotte
The Bobcats are really struggling this season, along with everybody else in the Southeast, but they give up peanuts in order to get a player in Towns who they can start to build back themselves up with. Minnesota, on the other hand, trades a valuable piece for young crap.

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SG Austin Forte
Orlando Magic 2028 2nd round pick

Orlando Magic receive
SF Mike Reyes

What this means for the Grizzlies
Forte came into this league with a lot of hype and potential, but the 28 year old never lived up to it after being taken 6th overall by the Clippers in 2020 and having a very promising rookie season. Terrible on the defensive end, he nonetheless brings great value by serving as a first guard off the bench and an ignitor on the scoring end. Cheap contract, too.

What this means for the Magic
Reyes has potential to be a defensive specialist and a good all-around reserve, but the 21 year old is mired in the 12th man slot and has an expiring contract to boot, a very miniscule one. Puzzling pickup by Orlando.

Winner: Memphis
Forte is just what the Grizzlies need, somebody who can score off the bench and combat the glut of high octane offenses in the West (Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle, Sacramento, just to name a few). He won't be a differencemaker necessarily, but he definitely helps narrow the gap. The Magic actually grow worse as a result of this swap.

Milwaukee Bucks receive
SG Dennis Jackson

Detroit Pistons receive
SF Wayne Scott
PG Mark Martin

What this means for the Bucks
The 29 year old Jackson is a horrible shooter, but he's got excellent handle for a two guard and plays solid defense. His contract is way overpriced, but he's only signed through next season and he provides insurance in case Kelley Forbes decides to go elsewhere next summer.

What this means for the Pistons
Scott has respectable all-around game, especially on defense and deserves much better than to be the 12th man. Martin goes on the inactive list, as the Pistons are stacked at backup guard with faded, but still good reserves in 36 year old former stars A.J. Dunkley and Zelipe Gama.

Winner: Milwaukee
It's slight, but the Bucks get the edge only because of the insurance policy Jackson represents. Otherwise this trade doesn't improve either team.

Not happy at all to see that smart play by Memphis. The conference is already a bear without them getting better on top of it.

I'm not sure if we'll be making a move at the deadline. My gut feeling says no, but who knows what the situation will look like later this month.

Knicks and Blazers back to back end in a split decision. We stymie New York 112-97 as all five starters score 16 or more, highlighted by Filip Svorada (28 points, 13 assists), David Anyan (23 points) and Jim Johnson (20 points). Portland's a house of horrors as Sonny Boxler sizzles for 42 points and we lose 103-76, Terrence Howard's 18 points and 11 rebounds our lone noteworthy showing.

A crucial matchup against the Suns ends in our 105-74 triumph as Brandon Edmond has a perfect 9 for 9 night off the bench for 19 points and 10 rebounds. David Anyan adds 14 points and 11 rebounds and Nigel Abel chips in 10 points as the second good reserve.

But we're still not good enough to beat the truly elite teams without Ronnie Fry and Seattle and Dallas prove it by manhandling us in back-to-back games. The Sonics shred us 105-83 as we get William Tackett's 21 points, Filip Svorada's 15 points and 14 assists and Brandon Edmond's 10 bench points and that's it. Devone Allen triple-doubles against us for 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as Dallas drops us 104-91, making a mockery of Filip Svorada's 23 points and Brandon Edmond's 12 bench points.

We snap back for a 115-90 win over the Celtics, David Anyan scoring 27, William Tackett and Filip Svorada each netting double-doubles, good for 16 points, 12 assists and 19 points, 10 assists respectively. Brandon Edmond thunders off the bench for a 13 point, 19 rebound double-double of his own.

The doubleheader going into the All-Star break allows us to finish strong as we win both away games. Terrence Howard brings 21 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks in as we shut down Chicago 102-80. David Anyan scores 20, Filip Svorada hustles for 15 points and 10 assists and Nigel Abel and Brandon Edmond split a pair of 11s in points and rebounds respectively. Our 117-105 win over New Jersey comes courtesy of William Tackett's 29 points, Terrence Howard's 24 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Edmond's stunning 23 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Edmond's done well to earn the lengthy min-sal contract I signed him to, more than I can say for Tzvetan Kishishev.

The Rookies beat the Sophomores 84-79 in a thrilling game. Tony Bryson takes home the MVP award with 19 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks and has looked like a much more well-rounded player than the more heralded Dennis Edwards, who wants out of Philadelphia already. Maybe the Nugget weren't so stupid after all.

As for the actual All-Star game, it's a 99-86 snoozer win for the East. Corey Neal's named MVP for his 29 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, block and 2 steals. I'm not wholly surprised we don't send anyone, though I figured Filip Svorada would at least get a look.

I think long and hard about a deal at the deadline and even get into some conversations, but after a while, it becomes clear that we should just roll with the team we have, even if we could use another scorer.

Poor Oswaldo Apolonario. Even with Antonio Sarchet beside him, they still can't beat us as we roll 131-102. William Tackett and Jim Johnson each score 27, David Anyan puts up 23 points, Filip Svorada hangs on 16 points and 17 assists and Brandon Edmond leads the reserves with 14 points.

I'm actually impressed with our 101-96 loss to the Mavericks. Jim Johnson was limited by a sprained ankle, but we kept it close despite an embarassing 20-8 2nd quarter disadvantage. David Anyan scores 29, Terrence Howard puts up 19 points and 15 rebounds and Filip Svorada has 16 points and 13 assists.

Ronnie Fry's back for our doubleheader on the road and we welcome his return with a sweep. All five starters score 15 or more in our 101-88 win over the 76ers, headlined by Terrence Howard's 16 points and 12 rebounds and Filip Svorada's 15 points and 11 assists. Brandon Edmond continues to be a valuable reserve with 12 points. The Wizards nearly upset us, but we hang tough for a 96-92 win on David Anyan's 23 points, Ronnie Fry's 16 points and 10 rebounds, Terrence Howard's 10 points and 13 rebounds and Filip Svorada's 15 points and 12 assists.

February ends with another sweeping doubleheader on the road. A 102-86 win over the Bobcats that was even more lopsided than it looks, keyed by Filip Svorada's 31 points and Terrence Howard's 16 points and 14 rebounds and nearly pissing away a 103-102 victory over the Magic. Ronnie Fry comes up huge against Orlando with 30 points and 12 rebounds, David Anyan scores 23 and Terrence Howard nabs 16 points and 12 rebounds, continuing to play well as a starter while Jim "Twizzler" Johnson remains bothered by his ankle injury.

We've been steadily increasing all season long since our catastrophic start and now, at 41-18, we're virtually deadlocked with the 39-17 Mavericks for the West's #1 seed. More significantly, we've expanded our divisional lead on the Suns to 3 games. Meanwhile, Dallas is 3.5 up on the Grizzlies and the Northwest continues to be an all-out war, with 34-23 Denver and Utah tied atop the division and Portland and Seattle 2 and 2.5 off the pace. Oh and I was wrong. It's Toronto's 1st round pick we have next draft.

Not that such is exceptional, as the Raptors are +.500 at 31-26, a mere half-game behind the Celtics in the Atlantic. Indiana's asserted themselves as the class of the East at 38-18, pulling away for a 2.5 game edge on the Pistons, while 29-28 Atlanta holds a half-game lead over the Wizards.

Too tired to do the halfway leaders, but with Ronnie Fry back, I feel much better about our prospects for the rest of the season, particularly once Jim "Twizzler" Johnson returns to full health.
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