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Old 07-16-2008, 02:49 PM   #151
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Schedulegate resolves itself by the NBA firing all their scheduling people and announcing that from here on out, all teams will play the exact same schedule every year to "help save on administrative costs." Disappointing to hear, but that's how the cookie crumbles.

I call George Karl into my office and give him the terms of getting a contract extension. Make the Western Conference finals or do better and he'll get an extension. Lose in the first round and he'll be coaching somewhere else next year. Anything in-between will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

He communicates his understanding, but reminds me that our Finals run two years ago came about because we had a superstar in Allen Iverson and we have no superstar players on this team.

He's right and it's something to think about as the season goes.

No trades last month, which is a little surprising.

Just for the heck of it, I start making some calls to see what it'd take to bring in a superstar. Believe it or not, there's a few teams that are very interested in talking, especially with what I put up to offer.

There's one team in particular that I'd be very pleased to make the deal with, but it would involve trading one of my boys, the one I'm most reluctant to part with. It would also mean a major hit to my big-man corps.

You know, I just can't do it. I thought I could trade away Ben Gordon, but I'm absolutely loathe to do it.

We beat the Heat 96-77 as Mehmet Okur, the other key part who would've been traded, puts up 16 points and 10 rebounds, Dan Jacobson nice as well with 15 points and 14 boards. Duez Walker scored 10 as the bench highlight.

A balanced offense led by 20 points a piece from Ben Gordon and Paulinho Buboltz, along with 13 and 10 points off the bench from Al Thornton and Leroy Wright takes out the Magic 115-83.

Mehmet Okur has 14 points and 12 rebounds, Ben Gordon 30 points and Paulinho Buboltz 18 points and 12 assists, but the Wizards still beat us 107-98.

To trade or not to trade? That's the big question hanging over all our heads.

I trade.

Denver Nuggets receive
PF Emeka Okafor

Charlotte Bobcats receive
SF Caron Butler
2013 Washington Wizards 2nd round pick
2014 Washington Wizards 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Okafor has been on GM Jestor's radar for quite some time and was almost traded to the Nuggets last year when they landed Mehmet Okur instead. Emeka is a huge defensive and rebounding presence that will probably start at PF and see Okur shift to SF. He'll be a critical piece as Denver tries to counter the frontcourt strength of teams like the Lakers and Rockets.

What this means for the Bobcats
Charlotte really needs more scoring offense if they're going to have a hope of winning the East conference crown again any time soon and Butler can give them that. After a game or two as the 6th man to adjust to the new team, much like Okafor in Denver, Caron likely slots in as the starting SG, where he'd be a signicant upgrade over Josh Smith. They also get likely high 2nd round picks for the next two drafts which gives them more tickets to try and find a gem.

Advantage: Draw
Both teams got something they needed out of this one, while giving something in return. It's a little surprising to see GM Jestor trade Butler, his fellow Racinian, but reports out of Denver suggest the Nuggets front office was frustrated with Butler's inconsistency.

They're right, I was. I also, for some reason, didn't feel quite the bond with Caron that I do Ben, who was the other major piece we had to dangle in front of teams and who I almost traded to the Wizards for Gilbert Arenas before deciding I didn't have the heart for it. And at least I traded Caron to a winning team, so he'll be able to experience the playoffs again, only over in the East.

We lose 125-115 to the Raptors in the next game, even though Ben Gordon scores 29, Paulinho Buboltz is electrifying with 23 points and 10 assists before fouling out and Dan Jacobson is absolutely amazing with 20 points and 23 rebounds. Al Thornton added in an impressive 24 points in his starting debut. Honestly, I'm pretty excited about this loss, weird as it sounds. This was a competitive game in Toronto and Jacobson hassled Greg Oden all game. Once we get the better defense Emeka Okafor in the starting lineup, I think we'll be able to be a real threat against teams like the Raptors.

The Knicks go down 120-109, Ben Gordon the lead Knick-crusher with 33 points, Paulinho Buboltz the #2 man with 24 points and 11 assists and some nice bench play from Duez Walker (12 points) and Emeka Okafor (13 rebounds).

Emeka Okafor gets his first start at PF against the 76ers, but the resulting game is a disaster. Mehmet Okur had 0 points, bringing back memories of Joakim Noah and not a single Nugget had double-digit points except for Ben Gordon, who tried his damndest with 49 points in the 101-86 loss.

We rally to just barely beat Boston 104-100 in the next game of the doubleheader, Dan Jacobson with 15 points and 18 rebounds, Ben Gordon with 36 points and Tiago Splitter a surprise bench scorer with 10 points.

The second doubleheader of this East Coast road-trip is a split, too. Miami falls 108-90 as Emeka Okafor is magnificient with 18 points and 12 rebounds and Leroy Wright has 10 bench points as the 6th man. Interesting Heat team, with Dwayne Wade, Allen Iverson and the stunning Nigel Abel (by the way, another 2010 class guy), but have a horrendous frontcourt in T.J. Roberts, a 4th year 22 year old who isn't as good as he could be and Ryan Sweetwyne, who frankly isn't ready to be an NBA starter. Really nice guy, though. Against Orlando, Dan Jacobson is awe-inspiring with 32 points and 15 rebounds and Paulinho Buboltz gets 13 points and 11 assists, but Mehmet Okur is really struggling to adapt to SF and 6 Magic score 12 points or more as we go down 110-99.

Back home against Phoenix, we win 106-91, Ben Gordon the top scorer with 30 points a game, Mehmet Okur finally snapping out of the SF slump with 15 points and 14 rebounds and Leroy Wright with 11 bench points. Dan Jacobson, as a fascinating side note, scored 0 points and didn't take a single shot all game long, as he was limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble. It's a mark of how good this team is becoming that we were able to overcome that and still win against a faded, but still respectable Suns squad.

We welcome back Joakim Noah against the Supersonics and he promptly goes out and scores 10 points as a reserve. Dan Jacobson bounced back with 19 points and 13 rebounds, Mehmet Okur continuing to look much more comfortable with 20 points and 11 boards. Brooks Smith was held to 19 points, a far cry from the 43 he had last time.

A tough 96-88 loss to Dallas on the first half of the now-annual Christmas doubleheader follows, in which no one shot well with the exception of Joakim Noah, who had 11 points in reserve duty. Dirk Nowtizki thrashed us for 39 points and, yeah, just ugly all around. Ben Gordon rescues us against Golden State with 46 points, as we have to start Joakim Noah at C because Dan Jacobson has a nagging finger injury. Jacobson scores 10 points off the bench though, as does Sebastian Telfair in the 109-86 victory to salvage a split.

Another game, another frustrating loss to the 76ers, this time 105-100. Emeka Okafor has 17 points and 11 rebounds, Joakim Noah 12 points, 11 boards, but it's amazing to see just how weaker a team we are without Dan Jacobson starting.

We close out the calendar year with a doubleheader against the Los Angeles teams. Well, okay, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, but still. The Lakers beat us 112-106 on the road. Ben Gordon leads us with 31 points and Duez Walker and Al Thornton have 10 bench points, but Andrew Bynum just tears Joakim Noah apart for 34 points and 13 rebounds. The encouraging thing is, we played them close on the road even without Jacobson starting. We crush the Clippers 117-99 at home as Ben Gordon scores 35 and Al Thornton and Duez Walker add 16 and 10 points with the second team respectively.

So we're 19-12 right now, a half-game BEHIND the Timberwolves (18-10). That's not cool. Dallas is just on fire lately, heading the West with a 25-5 record, followed by Houston at 22-9 and the Lakers, who are 20-8. There's a lot of really good teams in the conference this year, which is worrying.

Over in the East, it's still Toronto at 25-7. The Bobcats haven't missed a beat either, though, and are 2nd at 21-7. They've got Caron Butler starting at PF and while he's been inconsistent, he's given them precisely the scoring boost they were looking for.

Charlotte's got an interesting starting five right now.

PG Adam Morrison
SG Josh Smith
SF Gerald Wallace
PF Caron Butler
C Channing Frye

I'd like to point out that I'm the one responsible for their having Butler and Frye. Frye's been the starting C for most of his career with the Bobcats and the model of obscene consistency: 11.6, 11.6, 11.2, 12.8, 11.2, 11.5 (to date) points averaged and 1.8, 2.0, 1.6, 1.9, 1.7 and 1.5 (to date) assists. While less consistent in rebounds, he's ranged from 7.4-8.5 rebounds a season each year as well.

Charlotte fans can't say they don't know what they're getting out of Frye every year that's for sure.
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Old 07-16-2008, 05:00 PM   #152
rjolley
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Location: Roseville, CA
Adam Morrison at the point? Butler as a 4? That's crazy.

Enjoying the dynasty. Makes me want to go out and pick up the game...
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:00 PM   #153
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjolley View Post
Adam Morrison at the point? Butler as a 4? That's crazy.

Enjoying the dynasty. Makes me want to go out and pick up the game...

Morrison at the point is pretty crazy, I agree. Butler as a 4 makes some sense, though, because Gerald Wallace is 6'7 and would be way overmatched at the 4 in my opinion.

If I were the Bobcats, I'd go with this:

PG Brevin Knight
SG Adam Morrison
SF Gerald Wallace
PF Caron Butler
C Channing Frye
6th Josh Smith

Glad you're enjoying the dynasty. It's a really fun game. My biggest complaints are the occasional RTE:0 RTE:440 combo that means you have to re-install and re-boot, but that's why I save after every game now and the default schedule not changing.

All in all, though, for me personally, it ranks as one of the most addicting sports sims and games I've ever played.
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:54 PM   #154
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Two December trades besides ours. Oh yeah, the Knicks are 7-23 after two months of play.

Memphis Grizzlies receive
SG Durko Jagr
Chicago Bulls 2013 2nd round pick

Chicago Bulls receive
PG Craig Shehan
PG Keith Harris

What this means for the Grizzlies
They like Chris Gearheart's potential to play PG, so Jagr gives them an upgrade to SG after raw, but talented 3rd year Steve Neal was lost for the year with a torn Achilles. Jagr is, in all actuality, an average all-around player with not much upside, although he did average 12.4 points in 20 starts for the Bulls last year. The high second round pick might be the best part of this deal.

What this means for the Bulls
Rookie Shehan is extremely raw, but has some potential as a starter if Chicago doesn't mind having no defense at the spot. Harris is a mediocre second-year, better suited to SG. The trade does give the Bulls much-need backcourt youth, but all in all, it's not very good.

Advantage: Memphis
The 2nd round pick has the most potential value out of anything here and Jagr is more polished than the two players he was dealt for.

Memphis Grizzlies receive
PG Maurice Williams
Atlanta Hawks 2013 2nd round pick

Atlanta Hawks receive
SF Eric Hicks

What this means for the Grizzlies
Williams is your typical veteran bench guard and the 2nd round pick is probably a mid-rounder. Not much here for Memphis, although he does bring good defense to the table.

What this means for the Hawks
Hicks can score some, but he's as unexciting as Williams and just as buried on the bench.

Advantage: Memphis
A dull deal, though Memphis gets a shot at youth, so they win.

The nasty San Antonio/Houston doubleheader are our first games of the month which isn't good for our prospects of catching the Timberwolves. We get clobbered 110-83 by the Spurs, Duez Walker's 12 points off the bench our best showing. No problem though, as we steal a 96-95 comeback thriller against the Rockets behind all five starters with 11 points or more, Ben Gordon tops at 24 points, Dan Jacobson with 16 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks.

Another back-to-back, Kings and Lakers. We lose both games as everyone plays for absolute shit and I'm privately reviewing head coaching candidates after that one.

We snap the small slump against the team we needed to most. Minnesota had no answer for Ben Gordon's 27 points or Emeka Okafor's 13 points and 13 rebounds in the vital 103-84 home win.

I expect us to sweep our next doubleheader and we do, punching out Golden State 93-83 as all five starters hit double-digit points and Emeka Okafor and Dan Jacobson with 10 points and 11 rebounds and 20 points and 11 rebounds respectively. Seattle bows down 119-100 as Ben Gordon scores 43, Dan Jacobson has 11 points and 13 rebounds and Leroy Wright contributes 10 points on the second team.

We keep the winning going by abusing the Grizzlies 112-96. Always nice to get a victory over a team that gives us problems. Ben Gordon leads again with 31 points, Emeka Okafor puts up 17 points, 10 boards and 4 rejections and Duez Walker continues to flash tantalizing hints of scoring ability with 15 points off the bench.

I honestly think the Mavericks are overachieving relative to their talent level and we prove that by dismantling them 105-90 on the road. Paulinho Buboltz has a terrific game with 32 points, 8 assists, a rebound, a block and 4 steals and Duez Walker scores 18 as a reserve. Those 32 points are a career high for Buboltz, the first time he's scored 30 or more in a game. Here's to hoping for more of those from the 20 year old.

The annual four-game Midwest road trip with back-to-backs kicks off with a beaut of a sweep. Chicago can't handle us in a 114-101 win as Ben Gordon scores 28 and Emeka Okafor has 19 points and 11 rebounds. We take down Detriot the next night 114-100, Ben Gordon again the top man with 33 points and Emeka Okafor doubles again with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Al Thornton has 14 points to lead the subs.

The Bucks thrash us by 19 points even though we get doubles from Dan Jacobson (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Emeka Okafor (12 points, 10 rebounds for 3rd straight double-double). We complete the road trip with a winning record, though, beating Indiana 96-78. Dan Jacobson has 17 points and 18 rebounds, Duez Walker the best reserve with 10 points. Mateen Yeaton scores 22 and is averaging a career-high 23.9 points halfway through the season, along with 1.8 blocks a game, which would actually tie last year if he stays at that level.

Yet another back-to-back completes January. We demolish the Knicks 124-79 as Ben Gordon scores 36 points and Joakim Noah adds 12 bench points. The highest point-total by a Knick starter? 13 by Carmelo Anthony, one of only two New York players to hit double digits. The month ends on a sour note with 100-95 road loss to Portland, despite Dan Jacobson's 16 points and 13 rebounds. I hate playing the Trailblazers, I really do. They underachieve and underachieve and suddenly turn it on when playing us.

Even though we lost, we've wrested the division lead back and are 29-17, a game ahead of the Timberwolves. Portland's actually close to .500 at 21-23. The Mavericks in front at 36-8, the Rockets not far off the pace at 35-12. The Lakers are currently 29-14.

Two 30-win teams in the East, Toronto dominating at 35-11, the Bobcats 30-12 as their goofy lineup is still paying off. Indiana, I'm sorry to report, is struggling at 19-25. The Knicks on the other hand, much to my unbridled glee , are last and least at 9-36, behind even the 11-32 Bulls.

Lebron James brings us back to the days of 30+ or better club with 33.8 points. Gilbert Arenas, who I almost traded for, is second with 29 points and our own Ben Gordon is third with a 26 point per game average.

Dwayne Wade and Baron Davis are averaging 10.8 and 10.3 assists respectively. Paulinho Buboltz is 12th with 8.5 dishes a game.

Greg Oden once again leads in rebounds with 13.4, though there's a handful of guys averaging 12 boards or better, including David Lee, whose trade from Chicago to Orlando I think I covered but I don't know if I did it or not. It was last year or the year before, anyway. For the first time since I've been here, we have a player in the Top 25 in rebounding and that's Dan Jacobson, 21st, with 9.2 boards a game.

Andrei Kirilenko leads in blocks again with 3.7, Josh Smith and Elton Brand in the 3+ club with 3.3 and 3 respectively. Gerald Wallace is the lone player averaging 2 or better steals at 2.5. Lebron James and, ironically enough, Caron Butler are tied for 2nd with 1.8 a game. Paulinho Buboltz and Ben Gordon are both averaging 1.6 steals.

Five rookies currently in double-digit point averages: Austin Buller (12.1), Charles Garren and Bill Towns (10.5) and Darrell James and Demarcus Baptist (10.0)

Darrell James is dominanting in class assists with 6.8, Calvis Graham second with 3.4. Demarcus Baptist leads in rebounds with 9.2 boards a game, Austin Buller second with 7.6. Marvis Stapleton is tops in blocks with 1.8 a game and no one else is even remotely close. Darrell James and Charles Garren both have 1.1 steals a game and Bill Towns is just behind at a steal per contest.

James honestly isn't all that. He's just got the benefit of being the only guard starting for his team. Graham is a very good prototypical PG blocked by Baron Davis and Jason Richardson at the guard spots.

If it wouldn't disrupt team harmony, I'd be tempted to go and get him.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:13 PM   #155
Swaggs
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Almost Heaven
Is Buboltz starting to fill out his ratings yet? If so, is he looking more like a PG or a 2?

Also, does Duez Walker look like he could potentially become a starter or is he looking like a depth guy, long-term? If a starter, which spot?
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:47 AM   #156
cubboyroy1826
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Great stuff as usual. I have not had anytime to fire up the game with family in town for the week. Up late making conversation and playing games. They just do not seem to get the fact i am very anti-social.
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:54 PM   #157
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Swaggs: He is indeed.

Inside Shooting: 18/20
Outside Shooting: 80/88
Free Throw Shooting: 58/63
Scoring: 80/87
Passing: 69/73
Handling: 63/66
Offensive Rebounding: 43/46
Defensive Rebounding: 42/45
Defense: 51/54
Shot Blocking: 43/46
Stealing: 89/93
Drawing Fouls: 48/60
Discipline: 63/66
Intelligence: 63/66
Endurance: 98/98

He's certainly proven capable of playing the point (2.8 A/TO ratio), but his ballhandling has him, in my ideal lineup, playing the 2.

Walker's 6'5, 199 lbs and I see him in much the same way as I originally saw Leroy Wright, an excellent 3-position reserve (PG/SG/SF in Walker's case), but not one you'd necessarily want to have starting. In my own opinion, because of his shooting and scoring talents, Walker would make a great offensive sparkplug/6th man off the bench. Don't see him as anything more than a mediocre starter and if he did start, I'd say either SG or SF.

cubboyroy1826: I know the feeling. Glad you're still enjoying!

Edit: Sorry I've been mis-spelling your name. This whole time I've been reading it as cubbyroy and just now noticed it's cubboyroy :o
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Last edited by Izulde : 07-17-2008 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:37 PM   #158
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
If there were trades this past month, I hope they were more exciting than the two yawners the month before.

L.A. Clippers receive
SG Michael Blunt

New Orleans Hornets receive
PG Gabe Rosen
L.A. Clippers 2013 1st round pick

What this means for the Clippers
Blunt, taken with the 5th overall pick in the most recent draft, is still green but has the potential to be a decent scoring SG and is part of an intriguing young Clippers core that includes Brian Metcalfe, Kyle Hoiberg and Bill Towns. For right now though, he's on the bench and getting limited minutes, despite having been one of the most popular players in the country in college.

What this means for the Hornets
Rosen could become an average pass-first PG and the 26 year old fourth-year, taken with the 20th pick in the 2009 draft will definitely see his share of development time as the first guard off the bench. In prior years, the 1st round pick would be a sure-fire lottery suggestion, but the Clippers have been building smartly with the aforementioned youngsters and still have Elton Brand. They could see the playoffs yet this season.

Advantage: Draw
Both players are raw, but have promise. If it's a lottery pick, score this a win for the Hornets. If not, keep it a draw because Blunt has more upside than Rosen.

Sacramento Kings receive
SF Josh Childress
New Orleans Hornets 2013 2nd round pick

New Orleans Hornets receive
PF Elliot Carter
C Chris Mihm
PF Nick Collison (released and re-signed by the Kings the day after)

What this means for the Kings
Childress has never been much in this league, but Ron Artest has a broken arm and Sacramento, 22-23, sorely lacks bench depth, particularly at the guard spots. While not remarkable at anything, Childress can play 1-3 on the floor without looking like a total buffoon. The Hornets stink, so the 2nd rounder will be a good one.

What this means for the Hornets
Carter is 24, a second-year and former 2nd round draft pick who can play some defense, but that's it. He's even on the inactives. Mihm is a $3.3 million expiring deal that plays a little defense and rebounds a bit to improve the bench.

Advantage: Sacramento
The Kings gave up very little to gain a stopgap measure until Artest comes back from injury.

In former me-drafted Nuggets news, Andre Egans, who'd started 16 games for the Dakota Great Apes, got picked up by the Sacramento Kings and is presently the 14th man. Hey, it's another $700k in his pocket.

We play deliciously stingy defense against Golden State, winning our first February contest 89-65. Ben Gordon scored 26 and Emeka Okafor had 11 points and 17 rebounds. He's really proving a big part of our team since acquiring him.

Divisional double-header next, so I'm really hoping for a sweep. We take care of Utah 108-73 as Paulinho Buboltz kicks in 17 points and 10 assists and Duez Walker contributes 13 points off the bench, but Minnesota beats us 109-105 at the Target Center despite 18 points and 15 assists from Paulinho Buboltz. I really, really hate losing to the Timberwolves.

My mood takes another dive with a 96-89 loss to the Cavaliers as Lebron James torches us for 39 points. Can't blame Paulinho Buboltz (20 points, 11 assists) or Joakim Noah (13 bench points) for it though.

101 points are enough to win game one of a three game East Coast road trip by four points over the Nets. Paulinho Buboltz continues to be on fire with 23 points and 11 assists, Ben Gordon our lead scorer with 27 points. Mehmet Okur had a small flirtation with a triple-double, garnering 10 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists.

Games Two and Three are back-to-back and we somehow lose to the Hawks 93-88 even though Dan Jacobson played well (10 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks) and Paulinho Buboltz stayed hot with 20 points and 10 assists. We rally the next night to beat the Bobcats 107-96 and head into the All-Star break on a positive note. Ben Gordon scores 27, Dan Jacobson adds 16 points and 10 rebounds and Joakim Noah scores 12 off the bench. Caron Butler starts at SG this game and leads Charlotte's starters with 20 points. He's averaging 3 points a game more in a Bobcats uniform than he did here in Denver, to which I say, good for him (especially since we won).

So it's the All-Star Break and time to decide whether or not to make a move. We're 33-20, our lead over the Timberwolves at 2 games. I could see us making a run for a natural SF or trading Joakim Noah for a better bench piece.

I do make a deal, a relatively small one in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit helps.

Denver Nuggets receive
PG Shaun Livingston

Houston Rockets receive
PG Sebastian Telfair
Denver Nuggets 2014 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Livingston is a tall (6'7), extremely intelligent, disciplined pass-first PG with excellent passing and ballhandling skills and slightly above average defense. He's also the same age as the 5'11 Telfair and they're both on minimum salaries, both 9th men in their old and current teams' rotations. So why was Jestor willing to pay the extra 2nd round tax? Because this is exactly the type of PG he craves for his bench.

What this means for the Rockets
They already have a glut of guards, so changing one out for another makes no difference to Houston, particularly given how similiar Telfair and Livingston are in their skill sets. The extra 2nd round pick is a question mark depending on how the Nuggets do next season, but we're betting on the usual garbage late 2nd rounder. The best value from this may come from Telfair's popularity with fans.

Advantage: Denver
Both got a very small something from this, but the Nuggets got a guy that fits their front office's philosophy perfectly and it's widely known that GM Jestor considers 2nd round picks as nothing more than trade fodder.

I'm tempted to make another deal, but I'll sit and wait until after the All-Star festivities.

The Rookies-Sophs game doesn't interest me much this year because no Nuggets are going, although I watched anyway. The Rookies won 102-92, Darrell James the difference-maker and MVP with a game-high 24 points. I still don't think much of him, even though sports blogger R. McDonald raves that he's going to be the next big thing at PG.

I'm ecstatic when Ben Gordon makes the All-Star team and actually gets to play 22 minutes as a reserve. He scored 13 points with 2 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and two turnovers and looked great when he nailed 2 threes. Jonte Jones starting at C, secured the victory for the West and was MVP with 33 points, 7 rebounds, an assist and 4 blocks. We're starting to see a changing of the guard in the West as Kevin Durant was the starting SF, Kelvin Moody the starting PF again and Jones the starting C. The East is still dominated by the old guard, however, with only Greg Oden starting at C and Mateen Yeaton playing 2 minutes of scrub time as the East All-Stars who have been rookies since I joined the league.

I think about adding a new SF or another big man to the bench after the All-Star game, but eventually choose to stay pat other than the Livingston move. In my opinion we've got a pretty good balance of guys and can at least contend with any team in the league, even the Lakers and Raptors.

We thrash the Celtics 110-98 in our first game after the break, Paulinho Buboltz with 19 points and 13 rebounds and Shaun Livingston with 10 points, 6 assists and 0 turnovers off the bench in his Denver debut. Duez Walker added 10 points with the second team as well, in 11 minutes. I'm pleased to see he's been replaced as the first guard off the bench by Livingston. It makes me feel a lot better, both about the trade and about George Karl's coaching abilities.

102-96 loss to the Grizzlies dampens my enjoyment, although Emeka Okafor had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Dan Jacobson 10 points and 18 boards.

We overcome a horrible shooting night from everyone except Ben Gordon, who had 40 points, to edge the Hornets 111-105. I'm disappointed when Shaun Livingston only gets 6 minutes, but George Karl knows what he's doing, I guess. Then I find out after the game that Livingston has a hand injury. Whoops, guess Karl -does- know what he's doing.

The month ends with a 107-95 victory over the Hawks. Paulinho Buboltz treads water near a triple-double, but doesn't get it, settling for 20 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds a block and steal. Mehmet Okur and Emeka Okafor just missed out on double-doubles with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 12 points, 9 rebounds respectively. Al Thornton led the bench in scoring with 10 points.

36-21 is good enough to maintain our 2 game lead over the Timberwolves at month's end. The Mavericks and Rockets rule the West still with 44-11 and 42-15 respective records. The Lakers are 37-18 and the Trailblazers continue to fall just short of .500 at 27-28.

Shocking statistic: The Clippers went 0-12 this month. This made them go from 20-25 and a chance to turn the season around to a 20-37 record and a lost season.

In the East, it's still totally Toronto at 42-14. The Bobcats are still in 2nd at 37-17 and their current lineup is:

PG Adam Morrison
SG Caron Butler
SF Gerald Wallace
PF Sean May
C Channing Frye
6th Josh Smith

Still crazy, in my opinion.

The Pacers have fought their way back to within striking distance of .500 at 27-29 and are 6.5 games back in another Central dogfight between the Bucks in front (33-22) and the Pistons a game behind Milwaukee.
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:10 PM   #159
cubboyroy1826
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How do you get the ratings to show up as 1-100 instead of 1-10?
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:18 PM   #160
cubboyroy1826
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Nevermind i figured it out.
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:24 AM   #161
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Only way to play in my opinion. Everyone looks too much the same with 1-10 ratings.
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:21 PM   #162
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"$12 million the first year, 10% increase for the 3 years after that."

I'm having lunch at my favorite Denver-area restaurant with Frank Weatherspoon, Paulinho Buboltz's agent. We've been going around and around the last few months about an extension and he keeps insisting on the same agreement.

"You want me to pay out that kind of money for a guy who missed almost half the season last year? One who hasn't made the All-Star team or isn't even close to All-NBA level?"

Frank grins at me over our pasta plates. We've both ordered the shrimp alfredo. I hate that grin. It means money's going out the door.

"Paulinho will be 22 years old and have 4 years pro experience under his belt when his rookie deal finishes. He's one of the most popular players in the league and, more importantly Brazil, where his jerseys are outselling Nene's 6 to 1. On top of that, he's one of the league's brightest young stars, with amazing potential. I put him on the market, you don't think at least 15-20 teams are going to come rushing in with max deals? Come on, you know better than that."

I shake my head as I take a bite of noodle and shrimp.

"He's averaging 16 points and 8.5 assists. Good numbers, sure, but worthy of the kind of cash you're talking about, even with the Brazilian market? I'm not so sure about that. You know how Crenshaw is."

Frank answers with another smile, the cheerfully oily kind.

"At least 20 teams. Hell, even the Pacers were willing to trade their hometown hero, the Hoosier of Power, Mr. Mateen Yeaton himself for Paulinho."

What the...

"How did you find out about that?"

"Simple. I weaseled it out of a front office employee. Don't worry, it was somebody from the Pacers organization."

I sit back in my chair, thinking it over. Buboltz does mean a lot to this team, both at the gate and in Brazil, where he's made the Nuggets the #1 team in the country. Interest in NBA basketball is booming down there with Nene and Buboltz both in the league and, much as I hate to admit it, Frank's right about the age vs. ability/potential thing.

"Why does he want so much anyway? Jacobson signed for half that and he's just as valuable to our on-court success as Buboltz is."

Frank shrugs.

"He knows his value and wants to make as much money back as possible so he can make a difference in his homeland. He hasn't decided yet whether to help save the rainforest or the poor."

We both chuckle over that. Odd that greed is the gateway to philanthrophy, but evidently it happens.

And of course, I should've known what was afoot when Paulinho signed Frank as his agent. Weatherspoon speaks Portugeuse, Spanish, French, Greek, Italian and Chinese all fluently and is the Scott Boras of basketball agents, specializing in international players due to his linguistic skills.

"That's admirable, but still, I don't know..."

"Do you want to be known as the GM who ran him out of Denver?"

"I'm the one who brought him into Denver!"

Frank laughs at my outraged answer and after a few moments, I join in.

"Look", he says after we've calmed down, "I have a lot of respect for you and what you've done here in this league. You've got some serious balls and you've come a long way from the time you passed on Durant and took Acie Law and Joakim Noah. That's why I'm even continuing to have these discussions with you. A lot of GMs, I'd say to hell with it and just wait for free agency to hit, because I can squeeze more money out that way."

"Thanks, but I still need to think about it."

"Sure. Also keep in mind that Paulinho really likes it in Denver and he wants to stay, but the money's the most important thing to him for what he wants to do in Brazil."

I nod and we set to our pasta in earnest. Afterwards, we're relaxing quietly over glasses of wine when he speaks again.

"So, tell me... If you were GM of the Knicks again right now, what would you do to rebuild the team?"

I love this game, this game of what-if. Frank does too and it makes our meals together a lot more enjoyable.

"Trade Carmelo and Ronny Smith."

"They'd crucify you!" Frank protests with a laugh.

"I did it before with Carmelo", I point out, "and Smith needs to go. I don't care how much talent he has or how popular he is, he simply hasn't even come close to realizing his potential and he's on a bad team, so he should have inflated scoring numbers."

The agent laughs again, shaking his head.

"I don't doubt for one moment that you'd do it, too. I remember I was floored when I read in the paper that you'd traded Carmelo away. But you know what? Sure Carmelo's been to 3 straight All-Star games in a Knicks uniform and he was an All-NBA player last year, but New York is still losing and losing bigtime. Meanwhile, you've completely remade the Nuggets roster inside of two years and you're winning without Carmelo and without Iverson. That's impressive."

"I had no qualms about trading Carmelo because I don't think he can carry a team and I believe that now even more strongly after seeing him in New York. Remember, with Carmelo and no AI, the Nuggets lost in the first round the year after they won the championship. With AI and no Carmelo, we made the Finals. That says a lot right there. In my opinion, Carmelo's Ben Gordon at double the price. Good player, even a great player, but not a dominant, team-saving player."

Frank agrees and we end dinner on that note. I'm still not sure whether to sign Buboltz to an extension or not. Frank quipped that knowing me, I'd probably do something like trade him to the Knicks for two 1st round draft picks, which would probably be lottery picks and some scrub of an expiring contract.

He's probably right. At the very least, if I decide not to extend Paulinho, I'm not going to let him go for nothing. I'll trade him and get the maximum amount I can out of him.

But enough about off-the-court concerns.

There was one other trade besides ours in February and it's an interesting one.

Dallas Mavericks receive
PF Mike Patterson

Toronto Raptors receive
PF Oleksiy Pecherov
PF Chris Wilcox

What this means for the Mavericks
Patterson, 26 and a fourth year, fell out of favor recently in Toronto after the Raptors initially viewed him as a possible someday starter. He's a jack-of-all-trades, master of none type who bolsters Dallas's bench as a 3-position player.

What this means for the Raptors
Wilcox gives the Raptors a significant upgrade on the second team, a defensive boost with a strong inside shot. He's not an ace defender by any means, but he's still a lot better than any of the other Toronto reserves. Pecherov is there simply to match salaries.

Advantage: Toronto
Patterson feels too much like a generic upgrade, whereas the 30 year old Wilcox shores up a specific need area for Toronto.

Speaking of the Pacers, we face them in March's first game and win 98-79 as Indiana shoots 33% and Ben Gordon dominates with 38 points. Shaun Livingston displays his value with an astounding 15 bench assists.

The Clippers crush us 110-96 on the road. Ben Gordon scores 30 and Dan Jacobson had 16 points and 15 rebounds, but our defense, particularly amongst the reserves, completely evaporated.

We rebound with a very satisfying 97-87 win over the Trailblazers, Ben Gordon again the game's top player with 32 points.

A nice stretch of days off before a doubleheader that's a split. The Spurs beat us 100-93 in San Antonio, Ben Gordon having another 30+ game with 31 points. Paulinho Buboltz gets 15 points and 10 assists , Dan Jacobson 10 points and 12 rebounds. So damned close and yet just short. 31 points again for Ben Gordon in the laugher over Phoenix, Paulinho Buboltz his second with 17 points and 11 assists.

I want to tear my hair out when Caron Butler hits the buzzer-beater to give Charlotte the 102-100 victory over us, at home no less. Another 30 points from Ben Gordon and he -just- missed a triple double with 9 rebounds and 9 assists to go with those points. Emeka Okafor had 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The Clippers get the full brunt of our frustrations in a 114-88 massacre. Ben Gordon is the lead general with 42 points, Emeka Okafor a stalwart with 11 points and 10 rebounds, Joakim Noah the sneaky sapper with 10 sub points.

Close game against the Bucks, but I'll take the 120-115 victory. Ben Gordon shows no signs of slowing down with 31 points. Dan Jacobson collects 16 points and 11 rebounds and Duez Walker plays the role of sniper off the bench with 17 points.

Glory, glory halleujah an actual winning streak. The Wizards fall 113-105 as Ben Gordon scores 33, Emeka Okafor 11s his way to 11 points, 11 boards and Duez Walker devastates Washington's reserves for 18 points. Nice late 1st round find he's turning into, at least for this year.

The win streak and Ben Gordon's 30+ point streak both end in a 102-87 home loss to the Lakers. I want to bash Kobe Bryant's clown-face in. Paulinho Buboltz doubles with 15 points and 13 assists, Mehmet Okur with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Duez Walker adds 16 points off the bench.

We shut down Darrell James and beat the Kings 110-104 as 3 Nuggets scored 20 points or more: Mehmet Okur (25), Ben Gordon (20), and Paulinho Buboltz (20 points, 13 assists). Duez Walker contributed 10 points to lead the second unit.

The Suns have really declined from what they once were. What even a couple years ago would've been a probable loss is now generally regarded as a win and win we do, 107-92. Paulinho Buboltz erupts for 27 points and Mehmet Okur plays strong for 17 points and 12 rebounds.

A shootout breaks out in Salt Lake City. Deron Williams scores 45, but Ben Gordon counters him with 47 points. Dan Jacobson was everywhere on the court with 11 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 blocks and Paulinho Buboltz had 18 points and 13 assists as we prevail in a 128-124 thriller.

San Antonio and Portland are never a fun doubleheader. The Spurs edge us 107-102 despite Paulinho Buboltz's great game of 29 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds, Emeka Okafor's 10 points and 12 rebounds and 10 points a piece from reserves Leroy Wright and Joakim Noah. We rebound with a 92-89 road victory over the Traiblazers to salvage the split and end March positively. Dan Jacobson has 21 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 blocks and a steal to again be everywhere and Emeka Okafor and Paulinho Buboltz each doubled with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 15 points, 12 assists respectively.

As topsy-turvy as our month was, the Timberwolves slumped some and so our 46-26 record gives us a five and a half game advantage and we're looking in very good shape to take yet another division title.

I'll comment more on the situation of the rest of the league later. I have a giant headache when I see who our 1st round opponent would be if the playoffs were held today.
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:15 AM   #163
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The final ten commence with an away doubleheader of Memphis and New Orleans. We beat the Grizzlies 104-94 as Paulinho Buboltz ratchets up 23 points and 11 assists and Dan Jacobson is nicely effective with 14 points and 18 rebounds. Unfortunately, we piss away the game against the Hornets and lose by a nauseating single point, 105-104 as they get hot in the fourth quarter. Dan Jacobson played well with 16 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks before fouling out and Joakim Noah scored 14 from the bench.

Key road game versus Minnesota and a home game Seattle comprise the next back-to-back. The T-Wolves go down 99-88 as Paulinho Buboltz puts up 26 points and 13 assists and Dan Jacobson pulls off a fourth straight double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds, though I should note Minnesota is without Kelvin Moody, who broke his finger last month. The Supersonics don't fare any better against us in the easy 117-104 victory. Ben Gordon scores 33, Paulinho Buboltz has 13 points and 17 assists, Dan Jacobson makes it five double-doubles in a row with 26 points and 11 rebounds and Joakim Noah contributes 12 bench points.

Dan Jacobson's double-double streak ends with 8 points and 16 rebounds, but we beat Golden State 97-87 as Ben Gordon scores 26 to lead both teams and Al Thornton and Tiago Splitter have 10 and 13 points respectively to lead the reserves.

Another game against the Hornets and this time, there's no let-up as we stomp them by 32 points, 122-90. Ben Gordon scores 42, Paulinho Buboltz gets 14 points and 18 assists and Duez Walker has a career-high 21 points off the bench.

I received an e-mail from one of the NBA brass after the game, notifying me that there'd been a mix-up and Duez Walker was supposed to play in the Rookies-Sophs game as a reserve for the Rookies. He apologized for any inconvenience the miscommunication may have caused and that Walker's career portfolio would be credited with the appearance. Yeah, thanks for telling me that now. Oh well, I'll still take it.

Grizzlies-Rockets the next back-to-back. Memphis stuns us 100-96 at home, even though we get 28 points from Ben Gordon, 15 points and 10 assists from Paulinho Buboltz and 10 reserve points from Joakim Noah. And yet we beat Houston 115-107 on the road as Ben Gordon scores 38 and Dan Jacobson has 14 points and 16 rebounds. Good sign for our hopeful run to the Western Conference finals.

Double-P for the final two games, a doubleheader of Phoenix and Portland. Double delightment in the wins, too. The Suns fall 110-101, Ben Gordon the darkness-bringer with 28 points and Dan Jacobson with 10 points and 13 rebounds. We cheerfully dispatch the Trailblazers 97-86 to end the year as Ben Gordon scores 30 and Paulinho Buboltz polishes off the regular season with 16 points and 11 assists. The reason Portland hasn't been able to win despite their great starting 5 is their shoddy bench and it's highlighted this game, as the Trailblazer reserves score 9 points total. Hell, Duez Walker had 8 points just by himself!

We finish the regular season 54-28 and win the division easily.

Western Conference Top 8 Records
1. Dallas Mavericks (64-17)
2. Los Angeles Lakers (60-22)
3. Houston Rockets (57-25)
4. San Antonio Spurs (55-27)
5. Denver Nuggets (54-28)
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (45-37)
7. Sacramento Kings (40-42)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (40-42)

....I now have a migraine and it hurts. Yes, we'll have the homecourt advantage as the division champions, but we haven't beaten the Spurs once this season. They were the one team I did not under any circumstances to draw at any point in the playoffs and we get them in the first round.

Eastern Conference Top 8 Records
1. Toronto Raptors (61-21)
2. Charlotte Bobcats (55-27)
3. Boston Celtics (53-29)
4. Milwaukee Bucks (46-36)
5. Detroit Pistons (46-36)
6. Indiana Pacers (43-39)
7. Atlanta Hawks (42-40)
8. Philadelphia 76ers (40-42)

I'm happy to see the Pacers rebound and make the playoffs as a respectable seed and even more gleeful to see the Knicks finish with the NBA's worst record at 17-65, helping to alleviate the pain in my temples a bit.

Lebron James ends the one-year drought of no 30+ players with an average of 31.9 points. Too bad the Cavaliers suck so bad. Gilbert Arenas was second with 28.1 and our Ben Gordon took third at 26.6 points a game.

Dwayne Wade and T.J. Ford led in assists per game at 10.9 and 10.8 respectively, with Baron Davis just off the double-digit pace at 9.8. Paulinho Buboltz finished 8th with 8.9, just behind fellow 2010 draftee Brandon Brooks, who had 9 even.

Terrible year for rebounding when 13 boards a game is enough to win, but that's what Greg Oden did. On the other hand, a good number of rebounders over 12 boards a game, led by David Lee in 2nd with 12.6. Dan Jacobson was 20th, averaging 9.5 rebounds a game.

Andrei Kirilenko ran away with the blocks title again at 3.7 a game. 2nd place went to Elton Brand with 2.7. Emeka Okafor was 12th with 2.3, a pleasant surprise.

Gerald Wallace was the lone player with more than 2 steals average a game at 2.2. Tracy McGrady, Andre Iguodala and Ron Artest tied for 2nd with 1.8. Paulinho Buboltz tied with a bunch of others in the mid-teens with 1.5.

I said the Knicks made the right choice in taking Jeremy Leach when he fell to them at #3 and they did, as he blew away the rest of the class in averaging 17 points a game. Austin Buller was second with 12 even and all told, 7 rookies hit the double-digit points mark, the others being Bill Towns (11.4), Charles Garren (11.3), Darrell James (11), Demarcus Baptist (10.6) and Jeff Culuko (10.3). Duez Walker finished off the Top 10, averaging 6.7 points.

Darrell James took assists with ease with 6.6. Calvis Graham was a distant second at 3.5 and Duez Walker was 7th with 2.1. Demarcus Baptist was the top rebounder with 9.3 boards, Austin Buller 2nd at 8.2. Duez Walker rounded out the Top 10 again with 2.1.

Marvin Stapleton led in blocks with 1.5, followed by Doug Newman with one even. Duez Walker got another 7th in class with 0.5 rejections a game. Darrell James, Calvin Graham and Bill Towns were the best ballthieves with 1.3, 1.2 and 1.1 respectively. Duez Walker took 8th with 0.8.

Walker really has turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the season and I'm glad I made the move to trade up one spot to get him. The former Golden Domer (of the basketball variety naturally), has been an invaluable part of our bench as a rookie.

If only we didn't have to throw him up against the Spurs. I'm not looking forward to this matchup at all.
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Old 07-20-2008, 11:53 AM   #164
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I still have a headache a few days later before our first game, but let's see what our usual preview article has to say.

"Last year, Denver went the limit in taking out the Dallas Mavericks because they had no one to match up against Jonte Jones. This year, they draw the Spurs, who they lost every single game to in the regular season, usually by five points or less. The games should be close again.

Point Guard
Paulinho Buboltz vs. Zelipe Gama
Buboltz may only be 20 years old and 5'11, but he plays much older and bigger. For the first time in his three-year career, he started all 82 games and had a career year of 16.3 points, 8.9 assists, 1.5 steals, even half a block a game. He's capable of breaking out for 20 points a game or 15 and 10 on any given night, though he's a better shooter than passer.

Gama, a 21 year old fourth-year from Spain, originally taken at 1.14 by Seattle in 2009, became the full-time starter for the first time in his career this season and was extremely effective, averaging 11.8 points, 7.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals. Not a great scorer by any means, but a pass-first PG whose 6'4 height makes his matchup with Buboltz more equal than it seems at first glance.

Advantage: Denver

Shooting Guard
Ben Gordon vs. Joe Johnson
Gordon finished 3rd in scoring averaging with 26.6 points a game and showed a lot more 40+ nights than we've seen from him than any other year in his career. He plays good defense for a shooter and was voted as an All-Star starter this year, but played limited minutes due to a wrist injury. The big question with Gordon: Can he finally become an Allen Iverson? Denver's title hopes rest on that question.

Johnson averaged 22.6 points a game and is a dynamite passer for a SG, so good he could easily be the starting PG for the Spurs. More importantly for San Antonio's plans, he plays extremely good defense, which will be important as he tries to shut Gordon down. He also has 5 inches on the Nuggets superstar, 6'7 to 6'2, which plays to San Antonio's advantage.

Advantage: Draw

Small Forward
Mehmet Okur vs. Shawne Williams/Julian Wright
The 33 year old Okur showed signs of a lost step this season, but still averaged 12.3 points and 6.4 rebounds. Very good all-around shooter with nice scoring instincts and his 6'11, 249 lbs frame gives Denver a big body to create matchup problems at SF.

Wright, a very good, balanced young SF with nice defense who averaged 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and a steal per game is normally the starter, but a strained abdominal muscle makes Williams the temporary starter. Although Williams averaged 10 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as the Spurs first big man off the bench, the free-agent signee from the Pacers is a definitive downgrade from Wright and the advantage turns into a detriment for San Antonio.

Advantage: Denver

Power Forward
Emeka Okafor vs. Tim Duncan
Okafor was an extremely shrewd pickup by GM Jestor early in the season, giving the Nuggets some more great defense, rebounding and shotblocking inside. Emeka can even score a little and he finished with 11.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and a steal a game in the regular season.

Duncan may be 36 years old and have diminished quite a bit in his skills, but he's still 7', 260 lbs and averaged 13.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in the regular season. His defense is as good as Okafor's and his size advantage over the Denver PF is huge, which will greatly limit Emeka's effectiveness.

Advantage: San Antonio

Center
Dan Jacobson vs. Hilton Armstrong
Jacobson was Denver's greatest offseason acquistion, finally giving the Nuggets an excellent young C. 7'3, 290 lbs, Jacobson is a fine rebounder, an excellent defender and shotblocker and a steadily developing scoring touch, averaging 11.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game in the regular season. The X-factor: He was terrible in his rookie season in the playoffs, averaging just 2.5 points a game in 4 starts. He'll have to shake off those bad memories if the Nuggets want to advance.

Armstrong is one of the more underrated centers in the league. He averaged 10.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in the regular season, yet virtually nobody considers him even in the upper half of centers in the league. At 6'11, 235 lbs, he gives up a ton to Jacobson, so he'll need to rely on Duncan for help defense in containing Denver's monstrous young beast.

Advantage: Denver

Bench
Joakim Noah is Denver's 6th man, but he's really there primarily for his great defense. Duez Walker, a rookie, is the first guard off the bench and has shown signs of explosive scoring touch, a real points-generator and offensive sparkplug at times. The Nuggets poured a lot of money into Al Thornton in free agency, but he's been a major disappointment. Shaun Livingston was a nice, quiet move at the All-Star break to give Denver a passer off the bench.

Julian Wright is a terrific man to have as a reserve, abominal pain or not, but the real story here is Chauncey Billups, who averaged 11.1 points and 5.1 assists off the bench and who last year at this time was playing for Denver. His knowledge of the Nuggets scheme and his incredible productivity are big reasons why San Antonio won all the regular season games.

Advantage: San Antonio

Final Thoughts
This is a big, big series for George Karl. Word out of the Denver organization is that if Karl doesn't deliver a first round victory, even against the Spurs, he's gone. San Antonio is the worst possible draw for Denver, as they have the big guards to shut down the Nuggets and Duncan to help compensate for Armstrong's lightweightness inside. The fact that San Antonio won all the regular season games and the do-or-die factor behind Karl will give the Nuggets a desire to win, but the Spurs are just too well-built to match up against Denver.
Prediction: San Antonio in 6"

Gee, thanks a lot guys. Thanks a lot too, for the NBA, for screwing me over on the All-Star game once again.

Oh well, nothing to do now but to go out and play the games.

Game One
36.1% vs 39.7% shooting. Can you say defensive scrum? It says something that Hilton Armstrong was Player of the Game with 15 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks and a steal and Tim Duncan's 14 points and 11 rebounds were the other big highlight. Our lone noteworthy performance: Duez Walker with 10 reserve points. This series has started ugly in a bad way.
Denver 70 San Antonio 80

Game Two
50% to 53.8% shooting, a complete reversal of Game One. A reversal in the outcome too, as Paulinho Buboltz is on fire with a breathtaking 31 points and 13 assists, Emeka Okafor gets 21 points and 14 rebounds and Duez Walker stays hot with 11 bench points. Joe Johnson played great for San Antonio with 37 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks and Zelipe Gama had 17 points and 11 assists, the 17 points of which were matched by Chauncey Billups off the bench, but we go to Denver with a critical series split. More importantly, we've just proven we can beat the Spurs and on their own turf.
Denver 121 San Antonio 113

Game Three
An absolutely sensational game to watch, an OT thriller with nice balance on both sides. In a reversal of fortune from previous years, our three big men were the stars for the home team: Dan Jacobson with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Emeka Okafor with 12 points and 15 rebounds and Mehmet Okur with 15 points and 14 rebounds. The Spurs countered with 13 points and 11 rebounds from Tim Duncan, the game's lone 20+ point scorer in Shawne Williams (21 points) and 15 bench points from Chauncey Billups, but it wasn't enough to keep us from seizing the series lead! Hilton Armstrong had an incredible 28 rebounds in the most impressive statistic.
San Antonio 91 Denver 94 (OT)

Game Four
It's not an understatement to say the balance of the entire series hangs on this game and perhaps it's only fitting that for the first time this series, Ben Gordon breaks out and scores 27 points to go with Dan Jacobson's 16 points and 11 rebounds and Mehmet Okur's 14 points and 15 rebounds. San Antonio's biggest answer was Joe Johnson with 20 points and we frankly won this one far more easily than the final score suggests. We're in the driver's seat at a 3-1 advantage and I couldn't be more thrilled.
San Antonio 88 Denver 95

Houston swept the Kelvin Moody-less Timberwolves as expected, but they're the only sweep in town. A couple other 3-1 series, with all the rest knotted up at 2 a piece.

Game Five
Back in San Antonio and I'd frankly like to end this series now, to avoid giving the Spurs any momentum back. But they aren't going to down quietly, as Joe Johnson scores 25 and Shawn Williams scores 20. We counter with 24 points from Ben Gordon, 22 points from Paulinho Buboltz and 14 points and 11 rebounds from Mehmet Okur. Unfortunately their bench outscores ours 19-7 and that's the difference-maker.
Denver 82 San Antonio 93

Boston took out Mateen Yeaton's Pacers in five games. Everyone else moves on to Game Six.

Game Six
If we don't win here at home, we honestly don't deserve to win the series and George Karl wins a trip to coach somewhere else next year, even with Julian Wright back in the starting lineup. Karl knows it and from what I heard later, he gave his most inspiring, most passionate pre-game speech ever in the locker room, even better than in that famous series against the Rockets a few years ago. We come out fired up, Emeka Okafor in particular, who finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks. Ben Gordon scored 26, Mehmet Okur continued his great series with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Paulinho Buboltz got two 13s in 13 points and 13 assists. We were absolutely merciless and the best the Spurs could do in response was 14 bench points from Chauncey Billups.
San Antonio 88 Denver 111

Damn does it ever feel good to crush the Spurs so emphatically to close out the series.

A lot of series ended in 6 games. Toronto beat Philadelphia, Detroit upended Milwaukee, Dallas beat Memphis and the Lakers finished off the Kings. Only Charlotte/Atlanta goes the distance and the Bobcats' bizzare lineup finally falls, 88-78 in Game 7 as the Hawks pull off the lone big upset of the first round.

Third straight year in the playoffs for me with Denver, third straight year we're playing Dallas during the postseason. I like our chances.
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Old 07-20-2008, 10:28 PM   #165
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
I look at Dallas's 64-18 regular season record and I see a paper tiger. We swept them two years ago and beat them in seven games last year and we're a hell of a lot better than we were last season and the Mavericks aren't.

Preview:

"For the third straight season, the Nuggets and the Mavericks are meeting in the playoffs. Two years ago, it was a Denver sweep. Last season, a full-tilt contest that ran the full seven before the Nuggets prevailed again. Is this the year Dallas finally turns the tables?

Not so fast.

The hourglass is running out for Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki, who are 35 and 34 respectively. Terry signed a one-year deal to stay in Dallas, spurning lucrative offers to gear up for one more run. There's a growing feeling within the Mavericks organization that if they don't get it done this year or next, the window of opportunity will have run out for these two high-quality veterans.

On the other side, George Karl is still coaching for another contract extension as GM Jestor remained non-commital even after the opening round victory over the Spurs and Al Thornton must start producing if he doesn't want to be traded in the offseason.

Point Guard
Paulinho Buboltz vs. Jason Terry
Buboltz showed during the opening round that it doesn't matter what height his opposing man is, he'll still play like he's the biggest point guard on the court. Paulinho averaged 18.2 points, 2nd on the team, with 9.2 assists and 1.5 steals against the Spurs and he has an excellent 4.2 A/TO ratio thus far in the playoffs. More importantly, he showed he can pick up the scoring slack when Ben Gordon is struggling.

Terry had his worst scoring season as a pro in the regular season with a 16.6 points per game average, but he rebounded in a big way against the Grizzlies, averaging 20.3 points, 8.8 assists and a steal with a 4.8 A/TO ratio. He may have regressed, but he's still an upper-echelon PG who has the defensive skills to try and contain Buboltz.

Advantage: Draw

Shooting Guard
Ben Gordon vs. Josh Howard
It took Gordon a few games to come untracked against the Spurs, but when he finally did, he did so brilliantly enough to emerge with a team-high 20.5 point per game average. He's not Allen Iverson, but on this team he doesn't have to be.

Howard is what he is: an underachiever who still manages to make his presence felt on the court. He's another 6'7 SG for Gordon to go up against, but on the bright side, he's not quite as good a defender as Joe Johnson is and he's not half the shooter of the Spurs guard. He's averaging 12.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists after the first round.

Advantage: Denver

Small Forward
Mehmet Okur vs. Dirk Nowitzki
Okur was the biggest surprise of the opening round and one of the main reasons why the Nuggets are here in the second round. After some initial struggles playing the SF position he's adapted well and really took it to the Spurs in the first round, averaging 13.5 points and 11.2 rebounds. Don't look for him to have the same kind of success against the Mavericks, though.

That's not to say Nowitzki will totally shut Okur down. The 7', 245 lb. 34 year old is now widely considered a mediocre defender and nowhere near as good a rebounder as he used to be. That said, Nowitzki is still one of the best shooters and scorers in the league and he averaged 19.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks against Memphis.

Advantage: Dallas

Power Forward
Emeka Okafor vs. Daniel Wilder
Was Okafor the reason for the Bobcats' stunning successes year in and year out in the playoffs? Hard to say for sure, but the Bobcats were upset by the Hawks in the first round, while Okafor played terrifically in averaging 11.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks against San Antonio. More significantly, he frustrated Tim Duncan all series long, despite giving up a lot of height and weight to the long-time Spur.

Wilder is certainly no Duncan, not even a 36-year old Duncan. The 22 year old fourth-year is a largely mediocre player with horrendous free-throw shooting and rebounding that isn't quite as good as it should be. He was last and least of the Mavericks starters against the Grizzlies, averaging just 3.5 points with 4.2 rebounds. Yes, a large part of it was having to go against Pau Gasol, but Okafor isn't going to be any easier a matchup and all signs point to another long, rough series for the Dallas PF.

Advantage: Denver

Center
Dan Jacobson vs. Jonte Jones
"It's tough. It's tough to go in there and have to be the guy as a rookie, even your second or third year in the league when you're not used to the playoff atmosphere. Night in and night out against the best of the NBA, it's just real tough." No, that wasn't Jacobson, but Jones earlier this week in discussing what it's like to be the hotshot young center on a team with title hopes. Such would explain why Jacobson didn't dominate as expected in the first round, although he did average 11.7 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks to largely exorcise the demons of his 2.5 point performance as a Wizards rookie. He plays great defense and is a textbook rebounder and his 7'3, 290 lb body is going to be a huge obstacle for Jones to work around.

Jones has gradually emerged as one of the NBA's top centers of any age and he had a major coming-out party against Memphis with 25.2 points, 16 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. As good as Jacobson is at rebounding, Jones just happens to be the best in the league, even better than a certain Mr. Greg Oden. He's also a better than average, but not great defender, with good shot-blocking and stealing technique. He's also one of the best in the game at drawing fouls, which spells trouble for the Nuggets, who simply don't have a viable center option outside of Jacobson.

Advantage: Dallas

Bench
Rookie Duez Walker averaged a good 7.5 points off the bench against San Antonio, but the rest of the second unit was largely unimpressive.

Jeff Green averaged 8.7 points versus Memphis with 5.7 rebounds and Devin Harris showed good ball skills in averaging 5.5 points and 5.7 assists. Mike Patterson averaged 5 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15 minutes a game.

Advantage: Dallas

Final Thoughts
Jones has escalated himself to superstar level and we're talking Andrew Bynum kind of superstardom for a center. If he can get Jacobson into foul trouble, this series gets a lot more even, which otherwise favors the Nuggets' offensive balance and excellent defenders. It's going to be a close one and we predict this is finally the year Dallas gets the mile-high monkey off its back.
Prediction: Mavericks in 7"

Well, that's a little surprising, but they're right in that Jones really has reached that elite level and can make this a long series for us. I still have faith we can pull it out, though.

Game One
Hello rude awakening. Joakim Noah and Leroy Wright get 10 points off the bench, but Dallas played like they were the defensive team, not us. Jonte Jones ripped us apart for 25 points and 11 rebounds, Josh Howard channeled Ben Gordon in scoring 29 points and Jeff Green led the bench with 11 points in the slaughter.
Denver 93 Dallas 110

Game Two
Ben Gordon scores 40, Joakim Noah and Leroy Wright have 10 points and a double-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds off the bench respectively, but that's it. Is it enough? Dirk Nowitzki scores 28, Daniel Wilder has 13 points and 10 rebounds, Jonte Jones 28 points and 6 steals and Devin Harris 12 bench points. No it's not enough and things are suddenly looking very bad for us.
Denver 117 Dallas 128

Game Three
We're done. That's all I can say after this god damned frustrating as fuck 3-point loss when we fucking melt down and blow a lead to be outscored 29-20 at home. Who cares about Ben Gordon's 29 points, Emeka Okafor's 18 points and 12 rebounds and Duez Walker's 12 reserve points? Dirk Nowitzki scores 26 and Mike Patterson had 10 bench points. We had no fucking business losing this game, absolutely none at all. I'll fire George Karl's ass if we get swept.
Dallas 99 Denver 96

Game Four
Pathetic. Fucking pathetic. Joakim Noah our best guy with 11 bench points.Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Jonte Jones combine for 24 points, 23 points and 23 points and 22 rebounds. Karl's ass is out of here.
Dallas 106 Denver 98

There's no way in hell we should've been swept by the Mavericks. I'm firing the whole god-damned staff tomorrow.
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:26 AM   #166
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
I spend the week after our sweeping defeat to Dallas in Turkey.

There I re-visit again famous Troy and Pergamum, that famous mountain city I dreamt of long before I ever saw it on a tour the fall semester I spent in Spain. I bathe in the hot springs of Pamukkale and bruise my feet walking the rocky, beautiful white terraces of the same region to take in the majestic views.

I relax, but only a little, for I'm heavy-hearted and full-minded.

I don't know where to go from here. Karl's been a great coach, but is he really the one to lead us to a title? If we keep him, what about the rest of his staff? Do we need a legitimate franchise player to win a championship? If we do, do we have the pieces needed to get one?

Turkey, bastion of the classical West, with its many ancient Greek sites, and glittering jewel of the Ottoman Empire, brings me no answers, no solutions, but it's nice to get away, even as I'm ironically contemplating trading away our not-so-young Turk.

When I return to the States, I find out the Lakers beat the Rockets in 6, the Raptors beat the Pistons in 5 and Atlanta/Boston went the full seven games before the Celtics finally prevailed.

Over the next several days, I watch in amazement as the Mavericks take a commanding 3-0 series lead on the Lakers, only have to Los Angeles come right back to force a Game 7, rather remnisicient of our own Finals run a few years ago. Toronto/Boston goes to seven as well.

In the end, nothing can keep the Raptors from repeating as East Conference Champions and as for Dallas/Lakers, the Mavericks pull it off, downing the defending champions 121-109, Dirk Nowitzki scoring 34 points, Jonte Jones with 28 points and 10 rebounds. I wonder if maybe I haven't underestimated this Mavericks team.

The Finals promises to be interesting. I quickly compare the teams.

Point Guard
T.J. Ford vs Jason Terry
Ford has developed into a textbook pass-first PG and is averaging 13.7 points and 11.4 assists in the playoffs. That said, he's nothing special on defense.

Terry's been playing like a man who knows this might be his last chance at a title and is averaging 16 points and 8.2 assists. A better defender than Ford, but with little stealing instincts.

Advantage: Dallas

Shooting Guard
Larry Hughes vs. Josh Howard
Hughes is a big part of why the Raptors have two straight Finals appearances. An underrated scorer and a terrific defender, he's averaging 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in the postseason.

Howard continues to underachieve, but he still has 13.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals in the postseason to show for it. That said, he's liable to have a difficult time against Hughes.

Advantage: Toronto

Small Forward
Andrea Bargnani vs. Dirk Nowitzki
17.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks is all you need to know to illustrate that Bargnani is still playing well as the Third Musketeer at SF.

Who cares if Nowitzki's only averaging 5.2 rebounds in the playoffs? His 22.7 points is more than making up for it, just as his size is making up for his defensive deficiencies in a big way.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Chris Bosh vs. Daniel Wilder
Bosh has postseason averages of 20.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.6 blocks and is the leading scorer of the Three Musketeers. He's one of the most gifted, most well-rounded players in the league.

That Wilder's starting and this team is in the Finals is still surprising. 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in the playoffs and with absolutely no special skills.

Advantage: Toronto

Center
Jonte Jones vs. Greg Oden
This is the marquee matchup and Jones has looked like the best C since Shaquille O'Neal in this postseason: 23.8 points, 13.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.7 blocks. Forget the talk about Jones being one of the best centers in the league someday. He's -the- best C in the league right now at 22 years old, in just his third season of the league. He's the LeBron James of centers.

Oden's 14.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in the playoffs don't look so great compared to Jones and let's be honest here, Oden's MVP Award last season was an absolute joke. That said, if there's anybody, anybody at all in this league who can shut J-Flash down, it's Oden, the best defensive center in the game.

Advantage: Draw

Bench
Quincy Douby and Chris Wilcox are solid all-arounders, but there's not much here for the Raptors.

Devin Harris looks a lot more like the player he once showed the promise of being in this playoffs, averaging 7.9 points and 5.6 assists in the playoffs. Jeff Green is averaging 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds off the bench and Mike Patterson is eager to prove Toronto wrong for trading him earlier in the season.

Advantage: Dallas

Final Thoughts
This is going to be a very, very close series. But Toronto has been here before and the feeling is that this is the Raptors' year.
Prediction: Toronto in 7

Game One
Chris Bosh scores 28 and Greg Oden has 16 points and 20 rebounds, but Dirk Nowitzki doubles with 19 points and 11 rebounds , Josh Howard and Jason Terry have 23 and 20 points respectively and Mike Patterson shows he's a man on a mission with 16 bench points. The worst part about this game for Toronto? Jonte Jones was 0/5 and limited to 20 minutes because of foul trouble, finishing with just 2 points.
Toronto 93 Dallas 100

Game Two
Greg Oden makes sure this series isn't going to be a sweep with 23 points and 22 rebounds and Chris Bosh affirms it with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki doubles with 17 points and 12 rebounds, Jason Terry scores 28 and Jonte Jones rebounds nicely with 23 points, but it isn't enough in this thriller.
Toronto 105 Dallas 103

Game Three
The series shifts to Toronto and for the first time, the game's not even close. Jonte Jones has 23 points and 10 rebounds and Jeff Green and Mike Patterson contribute 12 and 11 points off the bench for Dallas, but it's not enough as the Raptors counter with a balanced effort. Greg Oden gets 16 points and 11 rebounds, Chris Bosh scores 22, T.J. Ford doubles with 16 points and 19 assists and Chris Wilcox chimes in with 16 points with the reserves to make this a laugher.
Dallas 87 Toronto 112

Game Four
And we've an even series as Dirk Nowitzki explodes for 39 points, Jonte Jones garners 14 points and 10 rebounds and Mike Patterson and Jeff Green have 15 and 11 bench points respectively. Chris Bosh kept his 20+ point per game streak alive with 21 points, but Toronto just couldn't get it done.
Dallas 114 Toronto 102

Game Five
Another close game in the pivotal contest and Jonte Jones plays big with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Jason Terry scores 20 as well. Chris Bosh, on the other hand, is a dreadful 4/15 and sees his 20 point streak come to an end with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Greg Oden had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Chris Wilcox 12 bench points, but Dallas steals the critical 3-2 advantage.
Dallas 103 Toronto 98

Game Six
Chris Bosh was furious with himself over his Game 5 performance and charges back with 25 points and 10 rebounds, Greg Oden teams with him for 13 points and 14 rebounds, T.J. Ford is in it with 11 points and 14 assists and Chris Wilcox and Quincy Douby provide the support with 16 and 11 points a piece from the bench. Dallas can only offer 22 and 11 respective bench points from Mike Patterson and Salim Stoudamire, as Jonte Jones played just 8 minutes before being taken out with a shoulder injury. Good news for Mavericks fans, as he'll be back for Game 7.
Toronto 111 Dallas 93

Game Seven
Can it get any better than this? Dallas is on the ropes and fights back in the fourth quarter to force OT. We had some absolutely inspired performances this game. For Toronto: Chris Bosh - 36 points, 11 rebounds, Greg Oden - 21 points, 25 rebounds, 5 blocks, Larry Hughes - 23 points, T.J. Ford - 13 points, 12 assists. For Dallas: Jonte Jones - 24 points, 11 rebounds, Jason Terry 19 points, 10 assists and Mike Patterson - 20 bench points. But in the end, the Mavericks couldn't get done in overtime, as Dirk Nowitzki had a dreadful 3-for-17 day on the most important night of his entire career. The Raptors finally bring home their long-deserved NBA championship trophy.
Toronto 115 Dallas 108 (OT)
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:21 AM   #167
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
A review of the coaches likely to be available this offseason settles it.

George Karl will not be coaching the Nuggets next season.

We have too many good, young players to entrust their development to someone better suited to a veteran team.

But the time for coach hiring will come.

NBA Lottery
1. Washington Wizards (+2)
2. New York Knicks (-1)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (+1)
4. New Orleans Hornets (-2)
5. New Orleans Hornets
6. Chicago Bulls
7. Miami Heat
8. New Jersey Nets
9. Golden State Warriors
10. Seattle Supersonics
11. Orlando Magic
12. Utah Jazz
13. Portland Trailblazers
14. Phoenix Suns

That was the lowest amount of ripple I've ever seen as an NBA GM. Hard luck for the Hornets, who held the pieces to have a top 3 and a top 5 pick and instead they're forced to settle for two Top 5 selections. Good problem to have though and I forget just who they fleeced to get that deal.

NBA Awards

Major Awards
MVP
Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers - 20.4 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.2 bpg, 0.8 spg
Defensive Player of the Year
Andrei Kirilenko - Utah Jazz - 13.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, 3.7 bpg, 1.4 spg
Rookie of the Year
Demarcus Baptist - New Jersey Nets - 10.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.6 bpg, 0.7 spg
6th Man of the Year
Troy Murphy - Seattle Supersonics - 9.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.3 bpg, 0.8 spg
Coach of the Year
Rick Adelman - Houston Rockets

Yeah, okay I don't get Adelman winning Coach of the Year at all. Should've gone to Avery Johnson for what he did with the Mavericks.

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Dwayne Wade - Miami Heat
SG LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
SF Dirk Nowitzki - Dallas Mavericks
PF Elton Brand - L.A. Clippers
C Andrew Bynum - L.A. Lakers

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Gilbert Arenas - Washington Wizards
SG Mateen Yeaton - Indiana Pacers (Argh! Why didn't I trade for him?)
SF Kevin Durant - Portland Trailblazers
PF Pau Gasol - Memphis Grizzlies
C Yao Ming - Houston Rockets

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG Mike Bibby - Houston Rockets
SG Ben Gordon - Denver Nuggets
SF Paul Pierce - Detroit Pistons
PF Al Jefferson - Boston Celtics
C Jonte Jones - Dallas Mavericks

About damned time I finally got an All-NBA player. Good to see it was one of my boys, too.

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Dwayne Wade - Miami Heat
SG Lebron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
SF Andrei Kirilenko - Utah Jazz
PF Tyrus Thomas - Philadelphia 76ers
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Zelipe Gama - San Antonio Spurs
SG Tracy McGrady - Sacramento Kings
SF Gerald Wallace - Charlotte Bobcats
PF LaMarcus Aldridge - Portland Trailblazers
C Murray Alexander - Golden State Warriors

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG Darrell James - Sacramento Kings
SG Duez Walker - Denver Nuggets
SF Charles Garren - Washington Wizards
PF Bill Towns - L.A. Clippers
C Demarcus Baptist - New Jersey Nets

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Calvis Graham - Golden State Warriors
SG Andre Quarles - Seattle Supersonics
SF Jon Wilson - Miami Heat
PF Sean Pryce - Cleveland Cavaliers
C Austin Buller - Chicago Bulls

Nice to see Walker make the 1st team, which I didn't expect.

Utah Sixers

PG Brandon Brooks - Portland Trailblazers
11.6 points and 9 assists a game. Although Brooks, now 27, doesn't look like an elite PG, he looks like a very good one, good enough that I'm very strongly tempted to try and trade for him. The cost would be quite high, I'm sure, but I think it'd be worth it. An excellent ball PG with some great defensive skills. Not really a ballthief, however.

PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
Numbers declined considerably and for the first time in three years, he's not an All-NBA 2nd Team member, but he only played 60 games due to a broken finger. Still managed to average 17.3 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.4 blocks and 0.9 steals. 24 years old, he's one of the best young players in the NBA.

SF Julius Austin - Miami Heat
It's a good thing he got that fat deal to re-sign with Miami last offseason, because he averaged just 10.3 minutes and his numbers were hideous: 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and it only gets worse from there. Played 80 games, started none. A topnotch defender, but that's about it and definitely not worth the money they're paying him.

C Rudy Braun - New York Knicks
Had his greatest season yet, averaging 9.1 points and 6.5 rebounds, both career highs as he started 80 games after stealing the starting C job from Shaq. He's still got maddening potential, but at 25, how much time does he have left to fill it? One of the most curious players in the league, that's for sure.

PF B.J. Whitehead - Houston Rockets
Played 76 games and averaged 19.1 minutes en route to 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds. Decent all-around player. Not somebody you'd want starting or even as your 6th man necessarily, but a respectable depth guy to have around.

SF Brian Robertson - Free Agent
Nobody called and probably nobody ever will. He's not a bad bench guy for a D-League team, but he just isn't drawing interest.

Crenshaw approves the job I did, then turns around and sells the team to B.B. Dyer in the offseason. He's a guy who wants to win a championship and he's much more loose with the pursestrings than Crenshaw was, though not excessively so. This may be the godsend I need to ink Buboltz to a contract extension.

I tell Dyer playoffs and he says he expects more out of us than that. Ulp. Can we have Crenshaw back again? He's fine with right about the cap again, though.

Coach Hiring

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gets pink-slipped. Detlef Schrempf and Lionel Hollins are allowed to stay out their contracts.

There's some damn good coaches on the market, just like I hoped and I immediately make a play for the big name.

And we get him!!!!

Larry Brown, the great coaching nomad and legend, signs a 3 year, $6.6 million a year contract to be the new Denver Nuggets head coach!!!! Sure he's 70 years old, but he's just the guy we need for our team.

Other head coach changes the same day:
Don Nelson - New Jersey Nets (4 years, $5.63 mill/yr)
Doug Collins - New Orleans Hornets (5 years, $1.68 mill/yr)
Del Harris - Cleveland Cavaliers (4 years/$3.08 mill/yr)
Mike Brown - Washington Wizards (3 years, $2.21 mill/yr)

Later head coach changes:
Steve Van Gundy - Golden State Warriors (2 years, $1.66 mill/yr)
George Karl - New York Knicks (2 years, $5.43 mill/yr)

I nearly fell out of my chair in shocked laughter when I saw the Knicks signed Karl to a contract. I think George was very upset I didn't bring him back, so he's getting revenge by trying to make the Knicks a playoff team. Yeah, good luck with that Baldy.

My first choice for 1st assistant rejects us, so I sign Rory White for 3 years and too much money, but oh well. He's an improvement over Kareem.

For the first time since I took over the Nuggets, we're in great shape bodies-wise, with 10 players under contract heading into the offseason.

Realistically speaking, though, Ben Gordon's trade stock will never be higher than what it is right now. He's 30 years old, on a very affordable contract and coming off an All-NBA season, even if it's only 3rd Team. If I'm going to make a deal for a superstar, he's going to be it.

Unless I decide Paulinho Buboltz isn't going to cut it. I mean, suppose I get a really good PG and sacrifice Gordon to get him. How many guys Buboltz's size are even playing in this league, let alone starting at SG? ...Okay, there's one. Jameer Nelson in Orlando who has averaged between 13-15 points there. Hmm, not something I'd want to shell out $12 mill base and 10% raises for, but on the other hand, Nelson doesn't have anywhere near Buboltz's scoring instincts.

Then there's the SF problem. I investigate discussions with teams using Gordon as bait and there's quite a few teams willing to offload their...

...Wait a minute. Dan Jacobson can play SF. That's right. I'd forgotten about that.

A blockbuster with the defending champion Raptors falls through at the last minute, which is too bad, but I sort of expected it. The Trailblazers are wanting blood money for Brandon Brooks, aka Ben Gordon handed over to them.

In fact, everyone everywhere is demanding Gordon or Buboltz as part of any deal we make with them.

We do make one trade though.

Denver Nuggets receive
SG Mike Miller

Cleveland Cavaliers receive
PF Mehmet Okur

What this means for the Nuggets
Miller gives Denver much better ball-handling and outside shooting and a touch improved defense and scoring for the SF spot. He's also a year younger, but on the books for one more season than Okur. But he never was the secondary sparkplug in the Cavaliers offense and not in the playoffs either.

What this means for the Cavaliers
Okur provides Cleveland desparately needed rebounding, inside shooting and scoring instincts. While there's no guarantee he'll be a better second offensive option than Miller was, he's a much better fit with Lebron James than MM. He's also got just two years remaining on his contract.

Advantage: Cleveland
As much as this deal has pros and cons for both teams, we like the pros for the Cavaliers better. Miller is a more natural at SF than Okur, to be sure, but our suspicion is that the Turk will be better than the former Gator at improving his new team.

Bah, what do they know? I mean, we already had rebounding and inside shooting/scoring in Emeka Okafor and Dan Jacobson. It's a small improvement for us, but an improvement all the same, I think, because Miller won't have to be the do-or-die second option here in Denver. I mean, we've got Gordon, we've got Buboltz and Jacobson and Okafor have been shown scoring ability.

But I'm not done yet.

Denver Nuggets receive
PG Kirk Hinrich
SG Willie Green
Atlanta Hawks 2013 1st round pick (#18)

Atlanta Hawks receive
SF Al Thornton
PG Leigh Nash
Denver Nuggets 2013 1st round pick (#24)

What this means for the Nuggets
Hinrich has a horrible contract through his age 36 season, but that doesn't matter. He's a pass-first PG with some scoring punch and good defensive skills who instantly turns into Denver's 6th man. They haven't had this kind of luxury on the bench since Chauncey Billups. Green's on the books for $3.6 million a year for the next 4 years and is roster filler, but the Nuggets just moved up 6 places in the first round.

What this means for the Hawks
Let's face it, Atlanta, their surprise run to the 2nd round and taking the Celtics to 7 games last seaon aside, aren't going to be title contenders any time soon, which played a big role in Hinrich's demanding a trade. Thornton may be $9 million a year for the next 4 years and a bench player, but the Hawks still shed on average $3 million a year the next four seasons thanks to dumping both Hinrich and Green. Nash is an end of the bench player and a min-sal expiring contract.

Advantage: Denver
GM Jestor is in Win Now mode and the pressure to deliver a title has only been heightened by the recent change in ownership and Larry Brown's hiring. Giving them a safety net at the guard spots goes a long, long way to filling that aim. Besides, who plays PG for the Hawks now?

I still need an improvement in bench big men and I'm still searching for that superstar... but at least I've got my starting PG now, so I can make a choice about Gordon or Buboltz. Noah and Wright are still there for the dealing as well.

There's still a lot of thinking to be done, but I like where we're headed.
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:40 PM   #168
boberot
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Western NY
*whew*

took me a while to catch up after getting distracted for a while there.
Great stuff.

This has been a fun read, especially as I play through a season along-side of my perusals here.

In fact, your dynasty has changed my play style somewhat -- while I thought you were nuts at first to not even tinker with line-ups and depth charts, I've been experimenting with playing that way and enjoying it. [I'm so much more of a micro-manager that I'd enjoyed "coaching" every game, but the pace your way is much nicer.]

Anyway, keep up the good work.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:24 PM   #169
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by boberot View Post
*whew*

took me a while to catch up after getting distracted for a while there.
Great stuff.

This has been a fun read, especially as I play through a season along-side of my perusals here.

In fact, your dynasty has changed my play style somewhat -- while I thought you were nuts at first to not even tinker with line-ups and depth charts, I've been experimenting with playing that way and enjoying it. [I'm so much more of a micro-manager that I'd enjoyed "coaching" every game, but the pace your way is much nicer.]

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Thank you! Glad to hear you're enjoying and running seasons along with the dynasty and I'm flattered that it's affected your play style a bit. I think it's great the game offers both options.
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:45 PM   #170
Barkeep49
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not too far away
So I've slowly read this and it was a great read. Nice job of injecting all sorts of personality into a game that I think lacks it compared to their College Basketball version.
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:44 AM   #171
damnMikeBrown
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Come on...pick it up! We need more Cowbell! Erm, I mean we need more Nuggets!
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:30 AM   #172
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Barkeep49: Thanks! It's funny, because I actually like the pro version better than the college version. I'm not sure what it is about Gary's pro basketball games, but they're the text sims that once I get hooked into a dynasty about them, I can't stop until months afterwards.

damnMikeBrown: I've been wanting to, believe me. But I've been hit with a RTE:91 in the next draft that I've tried to run twice, so I sent my files in to Gary to see if he can find out what's up and fix them.
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:37 PM   #173
Izulde
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I sit on the fence some more and decide to wait until the draft.

There's some good looking swingmen, SG/SF types in this class it looks like from the mocks. We've also got the second coming of Buboltz in 19 year old Argentinian PG Luis Pau.

If we stay at #18, we're projected to take SF Vidal White, a senior out of Connecticut. Honestly, though, the initial reports on him don't impress me much. There's also a few big men worth taking a look at for the 2nd round.

In my opinion, PF Pete Totten, a sophomore out of Oklahoma and SG Charles Seegars a one and done Tarheel, look like the best two players in the class from the first scouting reports.

After workouts, there's one player that emerges as the cream of the crop and another player who wouldn't be a bad secondary option if we can't move up to get our top guy.

2013 NBA Draft 1st Round
1. PF Kerwin Haston - Washington Wizards
2. PF Pete Totten - New York Knicks

The Knicks just got a huge, huge gift from the Wizards, who should've never passed on him. Call it the good luck charm of George Karl or something. Haston, by the way, is the first player ever drafted from Hampton and he goes #1 overall. Unbelievable.

3. SF Buddy Bracey - Cleveland Cavaliers

Wow! My 2nd choice winds up going #3 overall. Not what I anticipated at all. This is turning into one crazy, crazy draft.

4. PF Eric White - New Orleans Hornets
5. SF Ron McPherson - New Orleans Hornets

There was no way my #1 choice (McPherson) was lasting past the Hornets and I knew that. Problem being, the Hornets weren't willing to entertain a trade.

6. SG Charles Seegars - Chicago Bulls

To be honest, I was a lot less impressed with Seegars after we brought him in for a workout, so to see him drop some isn't surprising. The analysts are stunned he fell that far, though.

7. PF Todd Dissinger - Miami Heat
8. C Martin Beerbohm - New Jersey Nets

The Golden State Warriors, who pick next, are pissed. They needed a C in the worst way and the best one of a really weak class goes off the pick before theirs.

9. C Brandon Blanks - Golden State Warriors

....Leading them to really reach. This guy's a late 1st round pick, maybe.

10. PG Branko Starcevic - Seattle Supersonics
11. C Lavell Ledbetter - Orlando Magic

Unbelievable. There's a guy I thought sure would have gone off the board by now who's still sitting around. The only problem is that his attitude's been brought into serious question. Is he worth trying to move up 7 spots for given that question mark?

No. Not that far up at any rate.

12. C Chris Washington - Utah Jazz

This is really something. All these reaches on mediocre and/or undersized centers. Craziness abounds.

13. SG Jerian McCrary - Portland Trailblazers

Portland just got giftwrapped the player I thought about trading up for. With his kind of potential, especially as a scorer, you'd be crazy to pass on him in the mid 1st round, especially with the bench woes the Trailblazers have.

14. SG Matt Michaels - Phoenix Suns
15. PF Sean Griffin - Sacramento Kings
16. PG Luis Pau - Philadelphia 76ers
17. PG Josh Brinson - Memphis Grizzlies

The analysts are saying we'll take SF Rodney Brown, a 22 year old out of Oklahoma State. He's got good scoring instincts and a great work ethic, but he's got a mercurial temperment and is a turnover machine and a half. I'm just not excited about him at all, especially not compared to McPherson and Bracey.

And that's when we pull off the blockbluster, a trade that is so stunning, I can't believe I've done it until three weeks later.

Denver Nuggets receive
SF Patrick Pastner
SG Mateen Yeaton
C Phillip Gill
PG Marcus Williams

Indiana Pacers receive
PF Joakim Noah
PF Leroy Wright
SG Ben Gordon
PG Paulinho Buboltz
Denver Nuggets 2013 1st round pick (#18)

What this means for the Nuggets
GM Jestor has long coveted Yeaton and it's not hard to see why. He's 25, a two-time All-Star who just made the All-NBA 2nd Team last season and he gives Denver major size at the SG spot for the first time since Jestor's arrival at 6'8, 207 lbs. He's extremely polished and the Nuggets believe he can be the new AI. Pastner has quietly developed into a consistent, solid starting SF and at 24, he helps make Denver a lot younger in the starting lineup. Most importantly, he forces [b]Mike Miller[/b to the 6th man spot, where he'll be much more effective. Gill is raw, but has some very nice potential. Under the Great Teacher Larry Brown, he'll develop a lot more quickly than he would've under George Karl. Williams is a pass-first PG with good shooting talents, though he lacks the killer instinct.

What this means for the Pacers
The Pacers have pined for Buboltz in the same way that Jestor craved Yeaton and, together with Gordon, suddenly Indiana has a fearsome 3-guard set in Buboltz, Gordon and Tony Parker, a trio reminiscent of the Buboltz-Gordon-Chauncey Billups grouping in Denver a couple seasons ago. Gordon is a good replacement for Yeaton's offense and in Buboltz, Indiana sees a future franchise player and one of the best PGs in the NBA, if not the best. High opinions, but valid, given Paulinho's steady improvement in his three years in the league and the fact that he's still just 21 years old. Noah provides defensive punch that the Pacers lacked and tenatively slots in as the starting SF. Wright fell out of favor after a solid rookie season, but he's proven a capable starting C before and for the heretofore big-man-starved Pacers, he could be just what they're looking for at the five.

Advantage: Draw
This is a major shakeup for both teams and it's too early yet to tell who will come out on top. Buboltz and Yeaton are both in the final year of their rookie contracts with no extension signed, something that may have played a factor in the trade.

18. SG Kevin Davis - Indiana Pacers
19. SG David Jordan - Indiana Pacers

Two shooting guards? Interesting. I thought sure they would've gone with Brown, but they passed on him. Strange decision by the Pacers here, but it's been that kind of first round.

20. PG Donovan McCarthy - Minnesota Timberwolves
21. SF Grant Fomby - Milwaukee Bucks
22. PG Scott Duggins - Detroit Pistons
23. PG Luther Kemppe - Boston Celtics

A late 2nd round type pick as a late 1st rounder. Boneheaded move by the C's here.

24. PG Tony Rowles - Atlanta Hawks
25. PG Kyle Reynolds - San Antonio Spurs
26. SG Larry Dove - Charlotte Bobcats
27. SG Jermaine Stokes - Houston Rockets
28. SF Rodney Brown - Los Angeles Lakers

Drops all the way to the Purple and Gold, where the Lakers snatch him up. Great, great value pick at this stage in the draft. I think he'll prove a valuable addition to the Lakers, especially with some of their players getting up there in years.

29. SF Vidal White - Toronto Raptors
30. PF John West - Dallas Mavericks

I'm so busy fielding calls about our blockbuster with the Pacers that I don't even see who the talking heads have us taking in the 2nd round. I take a flyer on the guy who looks like the best player left, SG Steve Harris, 22, out of UConn. The pick's a split decision by Chris and J.P., but I don't care. 2nd rounders rarely last more than a season or two on my teams anyway.

After the draft, I get a closer look at Harris and I'm initially not very impressed. He'll have to have one hell of a training camp to stick with the team.

Mateen Yeaton gets a $12 million base, 5 year contract with 10% raises. It'll mean a tightrope financially the next several seasons, but in my opinion, he'll be worth every penny. Besides, the new owner is willing to pay the cash, so long as we win.

Emeka Okafor lands a new contract as well, $7.35 million base for 5 seasons and 10% raises. The initial offer was $6.98 million base, but like a moron, I tried to negotiate a little lower and the end result was the agent just kept coming back with higher and higher offers. Emeka's 31, so by the end of the contract, he's going to be a $10.7 million albatross, right in the same year Yeaton's making $17.5 mill, but we'll worry about that when the time comes.

For now, I'm just happy believing that we've finally put together the kind of team that can at last break through and win the championship.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:30 AM   #174
damnMikeBrown
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Wow...not a huge fan of the move. Yes, you covet MY..but the young Bubolz and my favorite Gordon..that just hurts.

You'd better produce lest I switch my alegance to Indy!
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:15 AM   #175
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damnMikeBrown View Post
Wow...not a huge fan of the move. Yes, you covet MY..but the young Bubolz and my favorite Gordon..that just hurts.

You'd better produce lest I switch my alegance to Indy!

I know it's a huge gamble, but as much as I love Gordon myself, he just doesn't seem to have that IT, the kind that takes over postseason games like the AIs and the Kobes of the world.

Buboltz was tough to give up, too. If he turns out a franchise player for the Pacers over the next several seasons, I'm going to look really, really bad here.

It's going to be a fascinating next few years, that's for sure.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:40 PM   #176
Izulde
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I opt not to renounce either of the contracts on the team, as we're at $2 million over the cap and renouncing them would push us under the cap at a disadvantaged level.

Duez Walker, Steve Harris and Phillip Gill all get Summer League spots.

Summer League

We stumble out of the blocks with an 0-2 start but rebound to get a victory in the third game against the Hawks. Phillip Gill shows some real potential and Steve Harris is surprisingly effective off the bench the first few games, trends that continue as we lose to Chicago and beat Boston to close out the summer league session.

I really think Gill is going to surprise a lot of people this year with how much he's improved.

Free Agency

Looking over our team, what we really need is defensive punch on the bench and of course, we can always use a little more scoring there as well. Our starting five is pretty much set, barring a massive upgrade at SF that we couldn't afford anyway.

PG Johnny Willias, he of the superlative talent and four years of 9 points a game and a goodly number of assists as another underachieving Knick, highlights the free agent class, if only because of his talent and the fact that he's 24. C Narcyz Malinomowski, the great Polish sieve C who can score and rebound to make up for his defensive deficiencies, is a restricted free agent as well. Other than that, there's quite a few of the usual over 30 big names that are in their twilight.

We sign SF Shane Battier to our low exemption fairly early on in free agency. He doesn't have much left in the tank at 35 years old, but he still plays defense like a rock, can play 3 positions and is a smart player. A few days later, we re-sign Shaun Livingston to a 3 year min-sal deal, because Javaris Crittenton was demanding mid-level type money.

Paul Pierce is the first big name change, jumping from Detroit to San Antonio on a 1 year, $12 million deal. The Pistons recoup by signing Vince Carter to a 1 year, $10.5 million contract. I think the Spurs got the major advantage there. The Pistons also stole away Antawn Jamison for 4 years, $24.7 million.

But that was nothing compared to the incredulity that swept everyone involved with the league; players, fans, coaches, media, front office personnel, when Tim Duncan took 4 years and $24.7 million to go to the Charlotte Bobcats.

We tried our damndest to lure Allen Iverson back to Denver, but he spurned our mid-level exemption to take a 5 year, $32.2 million deal from the defending champion Toronto Raptors. I can't say I blame AI. He's 38 years old and he's getting some serious money to go to a winning team.

After that, there was no one really worth offering the mid-level to, so we inked PF Steven Caspers and C Pavel Podkolzin to min-sal deals on the same day that Zelipe Gama heads to the Heat on a 4 year, $30.4 mill. deal.

Richard Hamilton, who I considered offering the mid-level to, takes that to go to the Nets. Darko Milicic, who never did pan out, goes to the Clippers for 3 years, $12.1 mill.

I'm pissed when I find out Javaris Crittenton took a 2 year min-sal deal from the Chicago Bulls, because he's a lot better and younger than Livingston, but you live, you learn, I guess. Chauncey Billups accepted a min-sal from Memphis the same day. The next day, [[b]Starbury[ min-sals to the Duncan-less Spurs and two days later it's Ray Allen for $2.73 mill for a year to the Washington Wizards.

It was a pretty dull free agency this year, if you want to know the truth. No real high-level talent out there beyond the greybeards. Oh yeah, Ike Diogu min-saled to Detroit for a year, just as long as we're keeping tabs on ex-players of mine.

In the end, I opted not to sign Steve Harris to a contract. I decided it just wasn't worth that kind of money to invest in him.

Scary money situation two years from now, though. Barring trades, we're committed to $70.5 million right now for just 9 players. If we don't get out the gate fast, there's going to be some more changes made.

Training Camp

Dan Jacobson really turned heads in camp and Larry Brown believes he's still got some growth potential left in him. Counterbalancing that, Phillip Gill still has some nice ceiling, but Brown doesn't think it's as high as we thought when we traded for him, primarily because he showed horrible ballhandling skills.

But our starting rotation is set at least.

Denver Nuggets 2013 Opening Day Lineup
PG Kirk Hinrich
SG Mateen Yeaton
SF Patrick Pastner
PF Emeka Okafor
C Dan Jacobson
6th Mike Miller (SG/SF)
7th Phillip Gill (SF/PF/C)
8th Marcus Williams (PG/SG)
9th Shane Battier (SG/SF/PF)
10th Duez Walker (PG/SG/SF)
11th Shaun Livingston (PG/SG)
12th Willie Green (PG/SG/SF)

I'm thinking about sending Duez down to the D-League because it looks like he'll be struggling to find minutes in this lineup, but I'll keep him up for now.

The preseason mags have us tabbed for 7th in the West, which is more credit than what they've given us in years past. They have us 3rd in the division behind the Trailblazers, who are the conference favorites and who will probably underachieve again, and the Utah Jazz, who are the #2 seed. The Jazz, the #2 seed? HA!

What's even funnier--the Knicks projected as the top seed in the East. I'm sorry, but even though they've made a huge upgrade at C with Murray Alexander a free-agent signing and even though they've got Carmelo and a rapidly improving Jeremy Leach, along with the top rookie in the class in Pete Totten, this is still an underachieving team about to be on par with Portland. Then again, George Karl -is- the head coach...

Indiana's picked to just miss the playoffs with the 9th seed. Not really a surprise, since Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah are two of their frontcourt starters at C and SF respectively.

But who knows?

I'm really looking forward to this year, that's all I know.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:35 PM   #177
Izulde
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There's a lot of pressure on this team and everybody from me and Larry Brown on down knows it. We've re-vamped this team so completely that Dan Jacobson and Duez Walker are the senior members of the squad, having played all of 2012 in a Nuggets uniform. Larry's going to have to figure out a way to get them to gel and gel fast.

Halloween Night against the Lakers proves an auspicious start as we win 117-102. Emeka Okafor has 17 points and 10 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich looks exactly like the perfect PG I like on my teams with 23 points and 13 assists and our bench was terrific, with 19 and 12 points a piece from Mike Miller and Marcus Williams. That's 19 points in 18 minutes from M&M. Can you say 6th man if he can keep it up? Mateen Yeaton, by the way, scored 20 in his much-hyped Denver debut.

The joy of topping the powerhouse Lakers goes down with a frustrating 79-71 loss to the Timberwolves next game. Kirk Hinrich was our only real offensive force with 20 points, though Marcus Williams did score 12 from the bench. I hate divisional losses.

We snap back with a 100-93 victory over the Jazz, our first of two in three days against Utah. Kirk Hinrich continues to be on fire with 20 points and 10 assists and Good Mike Miller showed up with 17 bench points after scoring just 2 against Minnesota. This is proving a really fun team to watch and I think they're going to surprise some people with just how good they are once they get used to playing with each other.

Divisional doubleheader of Jazz Part 2 and Seattle up next. We lose both and by fairly close margins, the first one 96-92 against Utah despite 20 points and 10 assists from Kirk Hinrich, 15 points and 13 rebounds from Emeka Okafor, 12 and 10 reserve points from Mike Miller and Marcus Williams and 14 bench rebounds from Phillip Gill. The Supersonics superseded us 104-97 as Brooks Smith rained on us for 39 points, runing Mateen Yeaton's breakout game of 28 points and Kirk Hinrich's fifth straight game of 20+ points with 20 exactly.

A 107-93 victory over the Pistons brings us back up to .500 as Emeka Okafor (21 points), [b]Mateen Yeaton (26 points) and [b]Kirk Hinrich (20 points) all break the 20 point barrier, Dan Jacobson doubles at 14 with 14 points and 14 rebounds to go with 6 blocks and Mike Miller leads the second team with 10 points.

The Kings give us the royal treatment on the road, hospitably hosting a 101-91 Nuggets victory keyed by the most astounding team effort I've ever seen from any of my franchises. 7 players in double-digit scoring and not one of them had more than 16 points (Patrick Pastner). Mike Miller topped the reserves naturally, with 13 points, but Phillip Gill added 10 points and continues to flash tantalizing potential.

Toronto brings us back down to .500 even as Patrick Pastner erupts for 30 points and Mike Miller scores 16 off the bench. The Raptors' front court is still otherwordly and with Allen Iverson now in the mix, still averaging over 17 points a game in the early part of his age 38 season, they're just that much more unstoppable. All things considered, 104-92 isn't a bad amount to lose by.

We take out our inability to establish consistent winning on the Bulls, Patrick Pastner pummeling Chicago for 24 points, Emeka Okafor putting up 13 points and 15 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich with 20 points and Phillip Gill with 12 points in 11 minutes to key the reserves.

Sweet revenge against Dallas as we crush the Mavericks 110-89. Mateen Yeaton has his best game yet as a Nugget with 33 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks and a steal and Kirk Hinrich (21 points, 14 assists), Emeka Okafor (14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals) and Dan Jacobson (14 points, 12 rebounds), all come out of it with fantastic double-doubles. Something tells me Dallas isn't going to be so hot this year.

A genuine win streak emerges when we nix the Nets 109-99, Mateen Yeaton and Patrick Pastner combining for the most damage at 28 and 24 points respectively, Kirk Hinrich with 12 points and 10 assists, Shane Battier chiming in with 10 points in 10 minutes off the bench.

It's a streak I fear in danger in the upcoming doubleheader against the Spurs and the Rockets, and I'm right as San Antonio beats us 92-85. Only Emeka Okafor with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Mateen Yeaton with 29 points acted like they came to play. Everyone else just sucked. We rebound beautifully with a 20 point victory (114-94) over the Rockets in Houston, though as Mateen Yeaton grounds Yao Ming's boys with a sizzling 37 points. Patrick Pastner chimed in with 20 points, Kirk Hinrich contributes an ecellent 15 points and 18 assists and Phillip Gill double-doubles off the bench with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Mateen Yeaton Show continues with another scorching 37 points in a 124-89 win versus the Hornets. Emeka Okafor added 23 points, Mike Miller scored 13 off the bench and Phillip Gill had his second straight reserve double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He may be coming into his potential even faster than I figured.

We end the first month of player with a 120-102 triumph against Cleveland. John Aylsworth, a fifth year player who was taken with the 13th overall pick by the Jazz in 2009 and who signed a free agent deal with the Cavs in 2011, has really come into his own since coming to Cleveland. He torches us for 42 points in this game and is averaging 20.1 points in the early going, a worthy complement to Lebron James (at long last!, King James cries). But even with Aylsworth's 42 points and King James's 27 points, they still can't top Mateen Yeaton's third straight 30+ point game at 31, Patrick Pastner's 27 points or doubles from Dan Jacobson (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Kirk Hinrich (13 points, 14 assists).

And so at 10-5, we're deadlocked with Seattle atop the Northwest, with the worst team in the division the Utah Jazz at 8-8. Yeah, the Northwest is that damn good this year.

I'll cover the other conference notes at the end of next month, as I hate reporting after November, because it's too early.

But I just have to point this out.

The #1 team in the East with an 11-4 record is none other than..... the Indiana Pacers, who are riding 27.5 points a game from Ben Gordon and solid play from Jermaine O'Neal, Tony Parker and Paulinho Buboltz to heights not experienced in a long, long time.

Although I've said before that it's still too early to judge the trade, so far, it seems to have worked out great for both teams. Oh, one more thing. Leroy Wright won the starting C job after all and is averaging 7.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, a block and a steal. He's really found new life with the Pacers and I'm happy for him.

I almost forgot. One more thing.

Buboltz-Yeaton Comparison

Paulinho Buboltz
15 games/10 starts - 14.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 8.7 APG, 0.6 BPG, 0.9 SPG
Mateen Yeaton
15 games/15 starts - 23.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.7 BPG, 1.6 SPG

And Buboltz still has no contract extension.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:36 PM   #178
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Wow, big shakeups. I hardly recognize these guys. It will be interesting to see how they settle in.
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:14 AM   #179
Izulde
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Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
Wow, big shakeups. I hardly recognize these guys. It will be interesting to see how they settle in.

They seem to be settling in pretty well if the record and the recent hot play by Mateen Yeaton and Patrick Pastner are any indication.

Yeaton really struggled the first several games and I was starting to , but then after he got adjusted, I was all
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:22 AM   #180
Izulde
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No trades in the first month of play.

December starts off right with a 109-90 victory over the Heat. Mateen Yeaton scores 38 points for his fourth consecutive 30+ point game, Patrick Pastner scores 24 and Dan Jacobson double-doubles with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Our win streak comes to a screeching halt in a 96-89 loss to the Magic, as does Mateen Yeaton's 30+ streak (he finished with 23 points). Emeka Okafor doubled with 17 points and 12 rebounds, as did [bKirk Hinrich[/b] with 16 points and 10 assists.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Phillip Gill breaks his toe and is out for approximately the next two months. That's really going to hamper his development time. It also leaves us periliously thin at reserve C, so I sign C Brendan Haywood, 34 years old, to fill in the gap.

Fun matchup to watch against the Wizards, as Gilbert Arenas scores 41 points and Mateen Yeaton scores 36. In the end, we triumph, 109-86, as Patrick Pastner plays an excellent second man with 22 points, Emeka Okafor garners 15 points and 10 rebounds and Pavel Podkolzin, who's taken over Phillip Gill's reserve C role, grabs 10 boards off the bench.

Then the -real- stunner happens. We upset the Raptors 97-89 in Toronto as Mateen Yeaton scores 23 and Dan Jacobson gets a weak man's double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Just fantastic defense on our part to stifle the defending champions. AI is still averaging over 17 points a game, by the way.

We keep the winning alive with a 112-87 snoozer over the Knicks. Mateen Yeaton is magnificient with 31 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. Kirk Hinrich is almost as worthy with 27 points and 14 assists and Dan Jacobson has a nice 16 points and 12 rebounds. Same old underachieving New York. They've got Pete Totten starting at C, even though he's far too small to play there in my opinion. He's averaging 8.4 points and 10.8 rebounds. Not bad for being a rookie and playing way out of position. I think he's going to end up being one of the greats.

The East Coast road trip continues its annual jaunt with a doubleheader against the 76ers and Celtics. Back-to-backs haven't been kind to us this year so far and it shows here. Philadelphia edges us 99-95, wasting Dan Jacobson's 19 points and 16 rebounds and Mike Miller's 15 points and Boston beats us soundly, 111-100 as everyone struggled, save for Kirk Hinrich with 11 points and 11 assists and Pavel Podkolzin just missing a reserve double with 10 points and 9 rebounds.

Unfortunately, we've another doubleheader up next in Florida against the Heat and Magic. We just narrowly beat the Heat 99-97 behind a balnced team effort highlighted by double-doubles from Dan Jacobson (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Kirk Hinrich (18 points, 13 assists) and 16 bench points from Mike Miller. Orland goes down even harder, 113-94, as Patrick Pastner scores 27, Kirk Hinrichs unstoppable with 22 points and 17 assists and Dan Jacobson and Emeka Okafor both double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and 14 points and 10 rebounds respectively. It's a sweep we really needed to boost our confidence in playing back-to-back nights.

Road trip over, we head back home to beat the Suns by 10 (105-95) on the strength of Mateen Yeaton and Patrick Pastner both scoring 23 and Kirk Hinrich bettering them with 24 points and 10 assists.

We emphatically and very satisfyingly slaughter Seattle 110-99 in the next game as Mateen Yeaton puts up 26 points, Dan Jacobson adds 16 points and 12 rebounds and Marcus Williams leads the bench with 10 points.

It makes for an enjoyable break before our annual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day doubleheader against the Mavericks and the Warriors. We punch Dallas out 116-103 as Mateen Yeaton, Patrick Pastner and Dan Jacobson all score 20 points or more with 26, 24 and 20 respectively. Kirk Hinrich doubles with 15 points and 13 assists and Mike Miller provides the reserve scoring punch with 13 points. Our defense goes on display against Golden State as we top the Warriors 91-71. We held them to 37% shooting and we didn't do too badly ourselves, as Kirk Hinrich and Mateen Yeaton both scored 23 points, Dan Jacobson pulled down 22 boards and Mike Miller stayed hot as the top second man with 15 points.

The holiday festivities continue with a 102-71 home thrashing of the 76ers. Dan Jacobson and Emeka Okafor celebrate with double-doubles of 18 points and 12 rebounds and 10 points and 15 rebounds, but the real stunner was with the second team. Steven Caspers scored 13 and Mike Miller compensated for Mateen Yeaton's foul trouble with a blistering 30 points off the bench to take home Player of the Game honors.

A back-to-back against the Los Angeles teams carries us to January 2nd as it does every year. We lose 119-109 on the road on New Year's Eve to the Lakers, despite 28 points from Mateen Yeaton, 10 points and 19 rebounds from Dan Jacobson and some sensational reserve play: Steven Caspers with 10 points, Mike Miller with 16 points and Shaun Livingston with a surprising 11 points and 10 rebounds. There was just no answering Kobe Bryant's 43 points. The New Year rings in with a refreshing 108-96 victory over the Clippers, though, as Mateen Yeaton scores 23, [b]Patrick Pastner adds 20 points and Kirk Hinrich and Emeka Okafor both put on double-doubles, Kirk with 21 points and 14 assists, Emeka with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Phillip Gill is still out for another 21 days, but at least we get him back late this month. We've been doing well without him, but with him, it feels like we're that much stronger and I still consider him a fantastic diamond in the rough.

In any event, we're the #2 team in the West right now with a 22-9 record and stand two and a half games in front of the Minnesota Timberwolves, four ahead of the Trailblazers who are finally showing some ability with a 17-12 mark.

The Lakers tops in the West at 25-3 doesn't surprise anyone. What -is- a shocker is who leads the Southwest... the Memphis Grizzlies, with a half-game advantage on the Mavericks. The Spurs are struggling at 16-16 and the Rockets are a stunning 12-19.

The Grizz have been powered by a remarkably balanced offense of Rudy Gay (18.3 points), Pau Gasol (17.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks), Chris Gearheart (15.8 points), Narcyz Malinomowski (15.7 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks) and Durko Jagr (13.4 points). Thrown in Marvin Williams's 9.2 reserve points while capable of playing all 5 positions and you've got an exceptionally solid rotation.

Indiana's come down to earth and hold a 17-11 record, still good for a 2.5 game lead over the Bucks in the Central. We've a new surprise top team in the East in the Boston Celtics at 20-11, a game and a half ahead of Toronto. Charlotte, the annual kings of the Southeast, still lay claim to that title at 17-11.

I gleefully report that the preseason fellate New York Knicks are an abominal 8-22. Not so big now, are you George Karl?

To cap off the month, it's time for....

Buboltz-Yeaton Comparison

Paulinho Buboltz
28 games/23 starts - 13.9 PPG 3.0 RPG 9.0 APG 0.6 BPG 1.1 SPG
Mateen Yeaton
31 game/31 starts - 23.8 PPG 4.8 RPG 2.1 APG 1.9 BPG 1.7 SPG
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:25 AM   #181
Autumn
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Bath, ME
Well I'm just

It'll be great to see stats later in the season, so I can wrap my head around who's who.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:24 AM   #182
Izulde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
Well I'm just

It'll be great to see stats later in the season, so I can wrap my head around who's who.

You'll get it sorted out I'm sure, especially if you go back and refer to the depth chart a time or two. Also, I'm sure, knowing me, that there'll be some sort of stats posting later in the season.
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:47 AM   #183
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
We've got activity to report from December.

Philadelphia 76ers receive:
SG Stephen Jackson
New York Knicks 2014 2nd round pick

New York Knicks receive
PG Jefferson Flint

What this means for the 76ers
Jackson's 35, but he can play both guard spots and SF while providing some offense and defense off the bench in addition to being an expiring min-sal deal. The biggest value appears to be the probable high 2nd round pick.

What this means for the Knicks
Flint's a 24 year old 3rd year taken at 1.23 by the Suns in the 2011 draft. He hasn't ever developed and it doesn't look like he ever will. More tellingly, even with Johnny Willias, New York's starting PG out with a broken foot, Jefferson's still on the inactive list. Hard to tell why the Knicks made this trade, given all the youth they have in their backcourt, but then again, it's the Knicks and that's probably answer enough.

Advantage: Philadelphia
The 76ers actually get something for their end of the deal.

Detroit Pistons receive
SF Bobby Simmons

Boston Celtics receive
PF Nene Hilario

What this means for the Pistons
Simmons is a good shooter and defender, able to play SG/SF/PF and even better, he's an expiring $6.6 million contract. While it's questionable just how much playing time he'll get with Detroit, he's a nice addition to any team, even at 33.

What this means for the Celtics
Nene is an average all-around player and he quickly fell out of favor after his first season in Detroit. That said, he fills a gaping hole for Boston, which lacked any kind of quality depth that could play the five and since he's 31, the two years left on his contract isn't too horrendous.

Advantage: Draw
A little something for each team, with a little drawback for each situation.

Seattle Supersonics receive
SG Richard Hamilton

New Jersey Nets receive
C Robert Swift

What this means for the Supersonics
Hamilton's a brilliant shooter who plays okay defense even at 35 and he's a mid-sized expiring contract. He gives Seattle some instant offense, not that they really needed anymore, particularly not on their bench.

What this means for the Nets
28 year old Swift is a good rebounder, shotblocker and defender and that's about it. He's considerably overpriced at $5 million and change for the next two years and it's doubtful he'll see many minutes at all, given New Jersey's glut of quality young big men.

Advantage: Seattle
In a case of two franchises stocking up on their strengths, Hamilton's expiring contract gives the Sonics the edge.

Philadelphia 76ers receive
SF Courtney Jones

Atlanta Hawks receive
SF Charles Elleby

What this means for the 76ers
It's telling just how weak Philadelphia is at SG when the absolutely uninspiring 26 year old, 4th year Jones is the starter there. Given that hole, it's surprising the 76ers have a winning record, but at least he does represent an improvement at the spot.

What this means for the Hawks
Elleby is very average and 25. He plays both forward spots and that's about it. He's also quite buried on Atlanta's bench.

Advantage: Philadelphia
The 76ers get a starter. The Hawks got somebody it felt like they were trading just to make a trade.

Detroit Pistons receive
PG Kenny Graham
Golden State Warriors 2014 2nd round pick

Golden State Warriors receive
SG Rico Wolfe
SF Raymond Badu

What this means for the Pistons
Graham, 22 years old, in his 3rd season after being taken at 1.13 in 2011 by the Warriors. He was something of an attitude problem in Golden State, which is why he's being traded, but his talents are delicious. Already one of the top passers in the league, he's having a breakout season offensively, averaging 16.3 points and he's working on developing his shooting all the more. Needless to say, he instantly becomes Detroit's starting PG, something they needed. The 2nd rounder's just a small cherry for the top.

What this means for the Warriors
The 21 year old, 2nd season Wolfe is raw, but has some potential, particularly on the defensive end (taken 1.24 last year by the Pistons). He can play PG/SG/SF and may see some time thanks to that versatility. The 24 year old Badu, Detroit's 2nd rounder last year, is a throwaway type, particularly given he can only play SF.

Advantage: Detroit
Attitude problems or not, Graham has all the makings of being a star in this league and this 2 for 1 deal is extremely heavily weighted to the 1, especially when the bonus 2nd rounder looks quite high indeed.

I should've known there'd be a flurry of activity after the quiet of the first month. I'm really impressed with Detroit's ability to rob Golden State for Graham, even though he may be unhappy given that the Pistons aren't that much better than the Warriors right now.

Things start off this month for us with a nasty set of doubleheaders. The first one pairs up against San Antonio and Houston. We pull off the 10-point upset on the road against the Spurs, 115-105, as Kirk Hinrich doubles with 25 points and 12 assists, Patrick Pastner scores 25, Dan Jacobson doubles with 16 points and 20 rebounds and our bench goes into scoring fun with 14 points from Mike Miller and 12 points from Steven Caspers. We crush the Rockets 110-77 in an impressive result. Patrick Pastner has a great game with 21 points, 4 assists, 7 rebounds, a block and 4 steals. Mateen Yeaton scores 20 and Emeka Okafor double-doubles with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Our reserves are led by Mike Miller with 19 points and Shaun Livingston just breaking the double-digit point barrier with 10.

Tracy McGrady scores 35 points against us as the Kings prevail 96-87. Our offense pretty much fell asleep, save for Mike Miller with 21 points off the bench and middling doubles of 10 points and 15 rebounds and 14 points and 14 rebounds respectively from Dan Jacobson and Emeka Okafor. Things look even grimmer in a 113-103 home loss to the Lakers, despite 23 points and 13 assists from Kirk Hinrich, 20 points from Patrick Pastner. 12 points and 10 rebounds from Dan Jacobson and 10 bench points from Mike Miller. We need to solve the Purple and Gold riddle if we want to get back on top.

We take out our frustrations on the Timberwolves, whipping Minnesota 91-70. Mateen Yeaton scores 23 and Kirk Hinrich passes out 10 assists to go with his 18 points. One thing I've noticed is that Yeaton is an extremely streaky shooter. He'll go through periods of lights out scoring and then he'll go through stretches of drought. That could be dangerous come playoff time if he's not the AI type I figured him to be.

Seattle and Golden State back to back on the road is up next and we're playing both games without the services of Mike Miller, who's out with a pulled groin. We beat the Warriors handily, 90-76, in a curious game. Our stars, if you can call them that, are Emeka Okafor with 10 points and 10 boards, Dan Jacobson with 10 points and 15 rebounds and Steven Caspers with 11 bench points. It felt a lot like a minor conference college game. But the jets are turned back on, way on against the Supersonics and we just edge Seattle, 108-105. Kirk Hinrich blisters Seattle for 35 points and 10 assists, Mateen Yeaton scores 22 and Steven Caspers adds 10 points to lead the second team.

After those two games and seeing what we'd look like without Mike Miller, I'm definitely keeping him through at least this season before I try and offload his ghastly contract.

Memphis goes down 94-75 next game as Dan Jacobson looks great with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Emeka Okafor puts up 10 points and 14 rebounds and Kirk Hinrich contributes 20 points and 11 assists.

The Mavericks fall 109-97 on their own home court, thanks to Mateen Yeaton's 27 points, Emeka Okafor's 12 points and 12 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich's 10 points and 14 assists, Shaun Livingston's 10 bench points and a very pleasant and unexpected 13 points and 10 rebounds off the bench from Pavel Podkolzin. Jonte Jones is still great for Dallas, as is Dirk Nowitzki, but my impression is that the Mavericks are looking like a really old team and that's only going to get worse as the season goes on.

Two back-to-backs on the road against the Central Divison comprise our next four games. Chicago and Detroit are our first stops and we win both places. Mateen Yeaton scores 34, Dan Jacobson double-doubles with 22 points and 14 rebounds, Patrick Pastner adds 21 points and Marcus Williams has 12 bench points as we celebrate Phillip Gill's return with a 106-100 victory over the Bulls. Kirk Hinrich singlehandedly bails us out in a 92-89 nailbiter over the Pistons with 36 points. Nobody else played well enough to get a mention.

Milwaukee and Indiana cap off the four-game road Central tour and you can bet that the anticipation for the Pacers game was off the hook. Unfortunately, we got caught looking ahead to Indiana and the Bucks ambushed us 99-77. Only Mateen Yeaton came to play with 24 points and 10 rebounds. We were so shell-shocked by the loss, the Pacers smacked us in the face 109-91. Sure, Mateen Yeaton scored 20, Dan Jacobson had 12 points and 17 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich 16 points and 11 assists and yeah, Mike Miller scored 12 from the bench. But Ben Gordon scored 33 and a slew of double-doubles came rolling in for Indiana: Joakim Noah (14 points, 11 rebounds), Jermaine O'Neal (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Paulinho Buboltz (10 points, 13 assists). Tony Parker paced the Pacers second unit with 12 points. So yeah, every former Nugget on that team came out like gangbusters to prove I was wrong in trading them.

And maybe I was wrong. We won't know until the end of the season, I suppose. Maybe not even the end of this season.

It looks like the manner in which we lost those two games really has an effect on the team's psyche, because we promptly go out and lose our last two games of the month in a doubleheader. Bad enough by itself, worse when one of them is a 109-96 home loss to the New York Knicks. Mateen Yeaton's 28 points don't make me smile that night, nor do the 12 bench points from the newly returned Mike Miller or the 12 points and 10 assists with the second team by Marcus Williams. As for the 89-78 loss to Portland? At least that was on the road. But even being on the road and watching Mateen Yeaton score 23 and good second team play with 14 points from Mike Miller and 20 rebounds from Phillip Gill can't excuse the fact that we have a four-game losing streak for the first time since I've been in Denver.

Our lead in the Northwest is comfortable despite the run of poor form, as our 31-15 record is good for a five-game advantage on Minnesota and Utah. But the Mavericks are ahead of us by 2 games in the race for the #2 spot in the West and the Lakers still reign supreme with a 38-5 showing. Every team in the Northwest has a winning record, by the way, save for Seattle, who is mired in an 18-26 funk.

The Pacers have been hot lately, hot enough to rocket up to 27-17 and enjoy a 6.5 game lead over the Bucks. That's good enough for the 3rd seed right now as they continue to be the mirror image of us in a lot of ways. Toronto's reasserted themselves as the masters of the East with a 32-14 record, three games ahead of the Celtics. Charlotte's facing a challenge in the Southeast, as they're just 2.5 ahead of the surging Magic.

Given our slump, I don't even want to compare Paulinho Buboltz and Mateen Yeaton right now, but I will.

Buboltz-Yeaton Comparison
Paulinho Buboltz
44 games/39 starts - 15.5 PPG 3.0 RPG 9.8 APG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
Mateen Yeaton
46 games/46 starts - 22.6 PPG 4.8 RPG 2.0 APG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG

Another kicker that I couldn't help but look up--Ben Gordon is averaging 28 points a game, 2nd in the NBA behind King James with 30.6. Mateen's 8th with his 22.6.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:53 PM   #184
boberot
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Western NY
I'm actually still chuckling about,

". . . C Narcyz Malinomowski, the great Polish sieve . . ."
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:18 PM   #185
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by boberot View Post
I'm actually still chuckling about,

". . . C Narcyz Malinomowski, the great Polish sieve . . ."

The scary part is, his defense is only below average now. His first couple years in the league, it was so bad, he was easily the worst starting C in the league in terms of defense, maybe even the worst starter regardless of position in the conference on league.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:40 PM   #186
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Chicago Bulls receive
SG Jason Richardson

Golden State Warriors receive
SF Darius Miles
C Samuel Dalembert
Chicago Bulls 2014 2nd round draft pick

What this means for the Bulls
Richardson is an infusion of 16-17 points a game and passable defense. He gives the Bulls what they lacked; a legitimate scorer. His contract is a little steep since he's 32, but he's a major upgrade at the SG spot in the lineup and in the points department.

What this means for the Warriors
Miles is an average all-around player who will get his points as a 6th man because he can play all five positions. He's also an expiring near-$7 million contract and Dalembert's a $6 million expiring contract with solid defense. One has to wonder, though. With the Warriors this bad and their second-leading scorer now gone, can Baron Davis be far behind?

Advantage: Chicago
Richardson's addition could turn the Bulls into a borderline playoff team. The value of the expiring contracts and the throw-in 2nd rounder aren't enough to make up for how much worse Golden State is now.

Houston Rockets receive
PF Ike Diogu
Detroit Pistons 2014 2nd round pick

Detroit Pistons receive
PG George Greene

What this means for the Rockets
Diogu brings discipline, rebounding and even more versatility to an already multiple-looks capable Houston team on the bench. The Rockets have really been struggling this season, so anything they can do to make things more complex for opposing coaches is a good thing.

What this means for the Pistons
The 24 year old Greene is raw, particularly on defense, but the late 1st round pick (1.28 - HOU 2012 draft) has some interesting potential. It's surprising that Houston gave up on the player they saw as the heir apparent to Mike Bibby so soon. There's also Kenny Graham and Rajan Rondo ahead of him in the guard rotation. Still, one can never stockpile too much PG talent.

Advantage: Detroit
Greene is better than Diogu and the 2nd round pick and that's pretty much what this boils down to.

New Orleans Hornets receive
PG Mackel Greenleaf

Dallas Mavericks receive
SG Thabo Sefolosha
New Orleans Hornets 2014 2nd round pick

What this means for the Hornets
Greenleaf is a non-descript 27 year old backup guard and never lived up to the potential first seen in him when he was drafted by the Rockets at 1.29 in the 2009 draft.

What this means for the Mavericks
Sefolosha is a very good defender with some pretty good shooting and scoring instincts. He's also able to play both guard spots and the three and Nuggets GM Jestor will not be happy to see Thabo back in the West Conference, a player he's been known to have a strong liking for. The 2nd round pick is an added bonus.

Advantage: Dallas
We fail to understand why New Orleans even made this trade.

They're right; I -am- ticked at Thabo back in our conference. But there's nothing to be done about it now.

Riding a four game losing streak is never a good thing, but at least it's a new month and with the turning of the calendar page, we have fresh hope that we can snap out of this low spot and get back up top where we belong.

The punchless Warriors are a good place to start and we end the losing run, but I'm not happy about the five point margin of victory (104-99), particularly since it's at home. Still, Kirk Hinrich scores 31, Mateen Yeaton puts up 22 points and takes down 12 rebounds, Patrick Pastner throws in 21 points and Mike Miller leads the reserves with 11 points. A win's a win at this point, I suppose.

A divisional doubleheader follows and we split it. We beat Utah 104-86 in the first game, Emeka Okafor the man of the match with 25 points, 12 rebounds, a block and 4 steals, Mateen Yeaton -just- missing a triple-double with 18 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds. The Timberwolves stifle us the next night in a 88-72 game, Mateen Yeaton's 20 points the only noteworthy statistic.

Kirk Hinrich and Mike Miller bail us out in the next game with 21 points and 13 bench points respectively in an 86-77 win over the Cavaliers in Cleveland. As long as we can keep bouncing back from losses, I think this team will continue to gel and hopefully have gained some toughness by the end of the regular season that I think it lacks right now.

The Nets beat us 96-89 in the next game as only Mateen Yeaton shows up, finishing with 24 points. As much fun as this team can be to watch at times, it's also proving quite maddening these last couple months.

No problems, though, as we sweep both games of the doubleheader before the All-Star break and go into the vacation period on a high note. Atlanta falls 112-100 as Mateen Yeaton puts on a beautiful game of 40 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals and Dan Jacobson assists with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Charlotte bows down 112-103 as Maestro Mateen Yeaton dazzles with 45 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, Dan Jacobson thunders for 28 points, 18 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 blocks before fouling out and Patrick Pastner doubles with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Our very own Kirk Hinrich is the 2013 3-Point Shootout Champion, which is quite exciting to have happen. It's only the second time in his career he's been in the Long Distance competition and the first time he's won it.

I don't care about the Rookies-Sophs game this year so I skip it.

Two Nuggets get named to the All-Star Game. Mateen Yeaton plays 14 minutes and scores 10 points, while Kirk Hinrich doesn't get in the game, the exact same thing that happens to our old friend Ben Gordon on the East squad. The West prevails 101-95 as MVP Kelvin Moody electrifies with 21 points, 19 rebounds and 3 blocks.

We crush the Celtics 111-78 our first game back, Mateen Yeaton leading the way with 33 points. Kirk Hinrich doubles with 15 points and 13 assists and Marcus Williams and Mike Miller highlight the bench with 15 and 11 points respectively.

So it's trade deadline time and there's the eternal question of whether or not to make a move. All in all, I have to say that we really do look like a pretty solid outfit, though I'm not at all adverse to making a trade.

And so we make one.

Denver Nuggets receive
SG Vince Carter

Detroit Pistons receive
SG Mike Miller
C Brendan Haywood

What this means for the Nuggets
Carter is averaging over 20 points a game this season and shows no signs of slowing down in the scoring department despite being 36 years old. Chances are he'll be a half-season rental for Denver, but that suits the Nuggets and Vince just fine. He takes over as the starting SF, shifting Patrick Pastner to the 6th man role and making Denver that much deeper on the bench. They also now rid themselves of Miller's horrendous contract. The question mark: How will Carter perform in the postseason, who hasn't been in the playoffs in a very long time and not once since GM Jestor entered the league?

What this means for the Pistons
Detroit, if they even make the playoffs at all, will only make it as a low seed and are a likely one and done. While Miller has three years remaining on his contract, he's also appreciably younger at 33. He'll fulfill the same 6th man role for the Pistons that he did for the Nuggets, which may originally make this trade seem quite imbalanced. But then there's the fact that by shipping Carter out, Detroit can now give more minutes to their younger players and help develop them, something the still too-old Pistons need to do if they don't want to fall into becoming one of the league's worst teams over the course of the next few seasons. Haywood is roster filler, though he'll get some small amount of playing time in Detroit, rather than being inactive as he was in Denver.

Advantage: Denver
This is a trade that actually makes sense for both teams, lopsided though it looks at first. But the Nuggets upgrade could conceivably take them back to the Finals, maybe even a title and that, along with the payroll flexibility they've just bought themselves, is worth a lot more than the improved situation for the Pistons.

Nice to know the press agrees it's a good trade.

We celebrate Vince's Denver debut by whomping the Grizzlies 118-96. Kirk Hinrich is the MC with 29 points and 13 assists and Mateen Yeaton (22 points), Emeka Okafor (14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 blocks) and Dan Jacobson (13 points, 14 rebounds) are all the life of the party. As for the guest of honor himself, Vince Carter scores 18.

New Orleans is next to go down, 108-99, as Mateen Yeaton scores 26, Kirk Hinrich has 17 points and 12 assists and Patrick Pastner and Marcus Williams hold a bench party of their own with 17 and 14 points a piece.

Our final game of the month is an easy 102-86 victory over the Hawks. Mateen Yeaton scores 25, Kirk Hinrich adds 13 points and 16 assists and our reserves again feature two double-digit scorers in Patrick Pastner (15 points) and Steven Caspers (10 points).

And thus we end the short month as hot as we ended January. As a result of our win streak, we're solidly #2 in the conference at 40-17, well behind the 47-8 Lakers, but enough ahead of the 37-18 Mavericks. We also hold a 7 game edge over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Memphis is still suprising at 35-22, 3 games behind the Mavericks and Houston's looking more and more like they'll miss the playoffs at 22-35.

In the East, Toronto is the only 40 win team. The closest teams are Boston (36-21) and Indiana (35-21). The Pacers are the only team in the Central above .500 and as a result, have a commanding 8.5 game lead. Ben Gordon is still leading the team with a 26.2 points per game average and I'll reserve commentary on Paulinho Buboltz, save to say that he's now edged his way up to Indiana's second-leading scorer.

The Knicks are 16-41 and they're actually ahead of somebody, the Nets, who are 11-46. Maybe George Karl brought improvement to the Big Apple after all.

Lebron James is the league's top scorer and only 30+ point man at 30.5. Gilbert Arenas is second with 28.6 points, Nigel Abel third with 27.6, followed by Ben Gordon. Mateen Yeaton is sitting 8th with 23.3 points.

Four players in double-digit assist averages: T.J. Ford (11.7), Major Drayton (11.1), and Dwayne Wade and Kirk Hinrich both at 10.4 assists a game. Directly below that batch is Chris Paul and Paulinho Buboltz both averaging 9.8 assists a game.

One of the reasons Houston's struggling so much this year is because Yao Ming isn't even close to being the top rebounder in the league. That distinction belongs to Greg Oden with 14.5 boards a game, followed by Andrew Bynum, Andrew Bogut and Kelvin Moody all averaging 12.2 or 12.1 rebounds. Dan Jacobson is tied for 10th with 10.6.

An impressive three players averaging more than 3 blocks a game: Andrei Kirilenko (3.5), Josh Smith (3.4) and Kelvin Moody (3.2). Emeka Okafor is 15th, averaging 2.3 rejections a game.

Gerald Wallace is the lone thief averaging over 2 steals a game at 2.2. Four players are tied for second with 1.8 steals a game; Lebron James, Caron Butler, Andre Iguodola, and Kevin Martin. Mateen Yeaton is tied for 8th with 1.6.

Buddy Bracey and Charles Seegars are the only first years averaging double-digit scoring at 11.5 and 10.8 points respectively. Branko Starcevic is the clear leader in assists with 4.3, Charles Seegars next closest with 2.9.

Pete Totten is the supreme class rebounder with 8.8 boards a game, Buddy Bracey second with a distant 5.2 rebounds average. No rookies average over a block a game, Charles Seegars the closest with 0.9. On the other hand, 3 rookies are averaging over a steal a game: Pete Totten (1.2), Buddy Bracey (1.1) and Kerwin Haston (1.1).
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:27 PM   #187
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Chicago Bulls receive
PG Devin Harris
Dallas Mavericks 2014 2nd round pick

Dallas Mavericks receive
PF Josh McRoberts

What this means for the Bulls
Harris is a very good pass-first PG but he doesn't improve the Bulls all that much, not when they have Javaris Crittenton on the bench. A puzzling trade from that standpoint and the 2nd rounder is going to be pretty low.

What this means for the Mavericks
McRoberts was taken with the 16th pick of the draft in 2007 and has been an end of the bench player with the Bulls ever since. While he'll be a mid-bench man in Dallas, he's extremely mediocre.

Advantage: Chicago
This isn't really a good deal for either team, but Chicago does improve because of it, whereas the Mavericks actually get worse, because while Dallas's 1st round pick last year, Jamar Barnes, has some intriguing offense-running skills, he's a huge downgrade on defense from Harris.

Indiana Pacers receive
PF Cedric Simmons

New Orleans Hornets receive
PF Sean Bergmann
C David Harrison

What this means for the Pacers
Simmons is a much more polished version of Leroy Wright and in consequence, he steps in as the starting C. While he may be undersized, Simmons is the best player the Pacers have had at the position in a very long time, which doesn't say much, but upgrade is still upgrade.

What this means for the Hornets
The season's already long since lost for New Orleans, so this is about clearing the way for rebuilding. Harrison's an expiring $3.8 million contract and the 24 year old 2nd year Bergmann, taken with the 19th pick last year, is a young body with defensive skills. However, it's a worrying sign that he's on the inactive list for one of the worst teams in the league.

Advantage: Indiana
The Pacers didn't give up much at all to address their biggest void and the Hornets only gained marginal cap flexibility.

Toronto Raptors receive
PF James Augustine

Philadelphia 76ers receive
PG Darius Washington

What this means for the Raptors
At first glance, this is a headscratcher for Toronto, getting yet another front-court player, particular one as average as Augustine. But Chris Bosh is out with a broken elbow, so the Raptors felt they needed to get some depth and the 29 year old is a nice pickup in that regard. Doesn't do anything exceptionally well, doesn't do anything poorly either.

What this means for the 76ers
Washington has some excellent shooting skills and decent scoring instincts, but that's about it. Philadelphia also has a glut of guards on the roster and while Manu Ginobli and Steve Francis are 36, Washington's contract expires at the end of this year. Were he on a multi-year deal, this trade would make a lot more sense.

Advantage: Toronto
Timely filling of an emergency situation by the Raptors here and the 76ers just threw in another body in a position group they were already stacked in.

Never good to hear that the defending champions have shrewdly plugged a hole that springs up, but at least they didn't go out and get a great rental like we did.

Our first game in March is another hotly hyped matchup with the Pacers. We were embarassed last time and I'm hoping that motivates us to do much better this go round. We do, but we still lose 103-96 despite Mateen Yeaton's 22 points and 10 rebounds and Kirk Hinrich's 21 points and 12 assists. Ben Gordon bombed us for 27 points and new addition Cedric Simmons was everywhere, fashioning the impressive line of 15 points, 24 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and a steal in taking home Player of the Game.

Vince Carter has his best game since joining us with 31 points against the Clippers as we thump the Red and White 110-98. Dan Jacobson gets 14 points and 15 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton contributes 14 points and 10 rebounds and Kirk Hinrich completes the team tripling of doubles with a pair of 13s, in points and assists. Phillip Gill is top man off the bench with 11 points.

An excellent balanced offense, keyed by Mateen Yeaton's 32 points gives us a 110-103 victory over the Trailblazers. Dan Jacobson adds 21 points and 11 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich 12 points and 20 assists. Jacobson isn't quite having the explosive season I thought he might, and in fact his points per game are down about a point from last year with our additional firepower, but he's also averaging double-digit rebounds for the first time in his career.

The win streak continues with a sweep of the next pair, a back-to-back against San Antonio and Phoenix. We wallop the Spurs 112-94 in San Antonio without anybody on our team scoring 20 points, making it a doubly impressive victory. Dan Jacobson and Kirk Hinrich double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 19 points, 12 assists respectively and Marcus Williams and Patrick Pastner both added 14 points from the bench. No such balance occurs against the Suns, where Mateen Yeaton singlehandedly gives us the 97-83 victory with 30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the only noteworthy performance of our players.

Charlotte's been known for their defense, but it doesn't hold up against us as we crush them 112-98. Mateen Yeaton leads the way with 33 points, Kirk Hinrich has his umpteenth straight double-double with 14 points and 12 assists and Patrick Pastner leads the reserve charge with 16 points.

Another game against the Clippers, another resounding Nuggets victory, this one 112-81. Mateen Yeaton scores 34, Emeka Okafor wakes up on offense with 23 points and Dan Jacobson (12 points, 14 rebounds) and Kirk Hinrich (10 points, 15 assists) supply us with double-doubles.

Kirk Hinrich's double-double streak just narrowly comes to an end with 11 points and 9 assists, but Mateen Yeaton continues his 30+ point scoring streak with 33, Dan Jacobson scores 24 and Patrick Pastner powers the reserves with 13 points as we roll over Milwaukee 110-99.

Fascinating game against the Wizards (we won 109-80). Every single Washington player was held below double-digits, except for Gilbert Arenas, who was a one-man tour de force, finishing with 47 points. We countered them easily with a balanced offense, highlighted by 30 points from Vince Carter and 10 bench points from Patrick Pastner. Mateen Yeaton's hot streak ended with 19 points on the night.

We're so dominant and so on fire right now, even the Lakers can't beat us. The surprisingly easily 107-86 victory is keyed by six Nuggets scoring double-digits, the most notable performances coming from Kirk Hinrich with 20 points and 10 assists and Marcus Williams with 10 points off the bench. Williams has really been a pleasant surprise from the Great Trade. Although his numbers aren't eye-popping by any means, he does extremely well with the minutes he's given.

I've lost track of how long this winning streak has run as we top the Kings 93-77, Mateen Yeaton the kingslayer with 31 points and 10 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich his helper with 10 points and 10 assists, Patrick Pastner another tenner with 10 bench points. I just know this torrid pace has been damned enjoyable to go through and I'm going to soak up every single minute of it.

And of course that's right when the joy ends and we completely forget how to play defense in losing 105-94 to the lowly fallen Suns. Ah well, at least it was on the road. Vince Carter scored 27 and Dan Jacobson had 11 points and 14 rebounds, but that was about it.

It's only when we lose badly, 110-99 to the Jazz in Utah the next game that I start worrying we're going to drop into an equally impressive swoon. Vince Carter scored 25 and all five starters broke double-digit points, but our defense is continuing to suddenly disappear.

The losing streak stretches to three with a 79-71 loss to the Spurs that was just plain ugly, with 33% shooting on both sides. Dan Jacobson did double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, though and even better, we break the cold snap the next night in a 121-110 triumph over Portland. Vince Carter scores 30, Mateen Yeaton scores 22, Kirk Hinrich really leads the offense with 24 points and 16 assists, Dan Jacobson throws in 11 points and 13 rebounds and Phillip Gill leads the second unit with 12 points.

So with 10 games left in the season, we've all but mathematically clinched the Northwest with a 9.5 game lead over the Timberwolves. At 51-21, we're not likely to catch the 57-15 Lakers for the top seed in the conference. As it is, we need to be more concerned about Dallas, as the Mavericks, even minus Devin Harris, are somehow 50-22 and right on our tails for the #2 seed.

Interesting stat: As of April 1st, all of the second-place teams in the West Conference divisons have 42 wins and two of the three third-place teams have 40 wins (Phoenix, which has really risen again, has 39 wins at 3rd in the Pacific).

Out in the East, it's a fairly safe bet to say the Raptors are going to have the top seed with 51-21, as the Bobcats and Pacers are quite a few games off the pace at 46-26 and 45-26 respectively. That said, Indiana's in an intriguing mirror race for their own conference's second seed. And so the fates of Mateen Yeaton and Paulinho Buboltz continue to intertwine...

Speaking of which...

Yeaton/Buboltz Comparison

Mateen Yeaton
72 games/72 starts - 23.3 PPG 5.3 RPG 2.3 APG 1.9 BPG 1.6 SPG

Paulinho Buboltz
71 games/66 starts - 16.6 PPG 2.9 RPG 9.5 APG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG

A couple notes here:

Buboltz is still the second-leading scorer for Indiana, with an identical point total to last month when I forgot to post the comparison.

The 9.5 assists naturally leads the Pacers, but in counterpoint, Kirk Hinrich is averaging 10.7 assists for us, along with 15 points on the nose.
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:09 PM   #188
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
It may only be April, but things are definitely heating up as we go through these final ten games of the regular season. The #2 seed in the playoffs is at stake, something we really want so we can avoid playing the Lakers until the Conference Finals.

Unfortunately, things don't go as planned as we start off by losing both games of a back-to-back. Memphis beats us 98-91, even though Mateen Yeaton scores 37, Kirk Hinrich gets 22 points and 16 assists and Dan Jacobson plays well with 12 points and 22 rebounds. What -really- irks me is when the lowly Hornets top us 104-96, ruining 20 and 22 points a piece from Vince Carter and Emeka Okafor, 10 points and 15 assists from Kirk Hinrich and 12 bench points from Patrick Pastner.

I damn near shatter the glass table in front of me, slamming my fist in frustration when the Timberwolves nip us 89-87 as Vince Carter's 30 points as the starting SG go to waste, Patrick Pastner shooting a horrendus 2 for 11 in his first game in forever as a starter. Phillip Gill just missed a bench double-double with 9 points and 14 rebounds. The slump finally ends the next night in a 30 point trouncing of the Supersonics (115-85) as Mateen Yeaton lights up Seattle for 34 points and Steven Caspers has 10 points to lead the reserves.

A 106-80 savaging of Golden State draws us to 2-3 as Mateen Yeaton erupts for 34 points, Kirk Hinrich garners 22 points and 11 assists and Patrick Pastner finally has a decent start at SF with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Larry Brown limits Vince Carter's minutes as a precaution against Carter's sprained wrist.

I wish I knew what the hell it was about this New Orleans team, but they smack us around again, 108-88, in Denver no less. We had some good performances but I'm too irate to bother noting them. 20 point loss to the freaking Hornets at home. Unbelievable.

We finally drag ourselves back to the .500 mark with a 4-4 record following a sweep of the doubleheader. Memphis is the victim of our vengeful and free-spirited scoring as we gain revenge in a 112-94 victory. Vince Carter scores 22, Kirk Hinrich is the man of the hour with 20 points and 13 assists and Dan Jacobson double-doubles with 14 points and 12 rebounds. We narrowly beat the Rockets 94-85 as Kirk Hinrich is our savior with 19 points and 11 assists and Dan Jacobson contributes 10 points and 14 rebounds.

At this point, all I'm hoping for is a split in the season-concluding back-to-back to finish .500 in the final ten games and that's exactly what we get. We set the Suns 113-93 on the strength of Kirk Hinrich's 33 points and 11 bench points from Marcus Williams, but lose 106-84 to Portland as a souring season finale. In a perverse mirror of the Washington game where every Wizard was held below double-digits except Gilbert Arenas, so too does it go here, with Mateen Yeaton the lone valiant, scoring 37.

Needless to say, we lose the race for second place. But what's really infuriating is that the bastard Mavericks did -just- well enough, finishing 57-25 to our 56-26.

West Conference Seeds
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Dallas Mavericks
3. Denver Nuggets
4. Minnesota Timberwolves
5. Memphis Grizzlies
6. San Antonio Spurs
7. Utah Jazz
8. Sacramento Kings

East Conference Seeds
1. Toronto Raptors
2. Indiana Pacers
3. Charlotte Bobcats
4. Boston Celtics
5. Detroit Pistons
6. Philadelphia 76ers
7. Milwaukee Bucks
8. Orlando Magic

...Great. So not only do we lose the #2 seed, we play against a team that can definitely beat us in the Spurs. Want more salt in the wound? See that #2 seed for Indiana and the favorable matchup against the wretched Bucks.

Honestly, I've got a bad feeling about this playoffs. As much as I like this Nuggets outfit, it's way too bipolar in its performance for me to hold out much hope this year.

But who knows? Miracles happen, right?
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:03 PM   #189
Izulde
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This is what we've been working for all season long; getting back to the playoffs to make a run for the title. Of course, getting to the postseason has become expected of the Nuggets, who have won every single Northwest Division title since I joined the league except one (2009) and have never missed the playoffs.

I suppose there's something to be said for my maintaining the continuity, years after the days of AI, Carmelo and Camby in Denver are gone.

But none of that matters as far as I'm concerned if we don't bring a championship back to Denver at some point during my tenure here.

I'll go with the standard preview from the usual mag.

"...The nearly-completely new Nuggets have their highest seeding in years and there's reason to believe that this might finally be the year for GM Jestor and his Denver boys. But by the same token, this team has seen its periods of drought, funks in which they couldn't even beat the New York Knicks, let alone the league's top teams they'll be facing in the playoffs.

This, too, is an interesting Spurs team, the days of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker long gone, creating a San Antonio franchise that is engaged in something of an identity quest of its own.

Point Guard
What an absolute godsend Kirk Hinrich has been for Denver this season. He runs the Nuggets offense far more efficiently than the ballyhooed Paulinho Buboltz did and he's also one of the team's most consistent players, averaging 15.2 points and 10.7 assists in the regular season. There's some questions about whether he'll stay in Denver, as his contract is too lengthy and too rich for the front office's liking, but he's a pure textbook passer with good shooting when he needs to and some excellent defense.

Julian Wright was trapped on the Hawks bench until Atlanta traded him to San Antonio early on in the 2010 season and he's been a starter ever since, albeit at SF, his natural position, prior to this year. He's definitely looked out of place at the point and is the weak link in the Spurs chain. On the other hand, he plays very good defense.

Advantage: Nuggets

Shooting Guard
One thing that hasn't changed for Denver is the fact of an explosive, high-scoring SG, although this year it's not Ben Gordon, but Mateen Yeaton, the focal point of the blockbuster draft-day trade that resulted in wholesale changes to both Indiana and Denver. Yeaton's a huge SG at 6'8, 207 lbs and his size is a large part of how he muscled his way to averaging 1.8 blocks a game, along with a surprisingly high 5.2 rebounds. Throw in better than expected defense due to his stealing skills and of course, the scoring of 23.3 points a game and you have a player who's arguably the best-all around Nugget. The only problem is that he can be as inconsistent as Hinrich is consistent and if Yeaton gets cold, there could be trouble for Denver.

6'7, 237 lbs gives Joe Johnson and the Spurs the size needed to put a lid on Yeaton and Johnson's a much more naturally gifted defender than Yeaton is, with exceptional passing skills for a SG. While not even close to the shotblocker of the Nuggets' superstar, Johnson has comparable shooting skills, evidenced by his 21.7 points per game average. This matchup of titans, one young, the other veteran, will go a long way to determining the outcome of this series.

Advantage: Draw

Small Forward
This position's split between Patrick Pastner, another part of the Indiana/Denver deal who has very good consistency, adequate defense and well-balanced shooting abilities the like of which haven't been seen in Denver since Carmelo Anthony at SF and Vince Carter, the still-effective 36 year old picked up at the deadline from the Detroit Pistons. Pastner gives the Nuggets better rebounding and defense, while Carter is more of an adrenaline boost on offense.

No such two-headed hydra exists in San Antonio, where 36 year old free agent pickup Paul Pierce is the clear starter at SF. Pierce is having his worst season in years, averaging just 17.4 points a game, but don't let that fool you into thinking he's done, because he's still a beautiful shooter who uses his veteran savvy and intelligence to decimate less aware opponents. He's also a proven clutch commodity in the playoffs, something that neither Pastner, who's averaged a modest 12 points a game in every postseason he's been in, nor Carter, who hasn't seen the playoffs in years, are.

Advantage: Draw

Power Forward
Emeka Okafor is what he is, year in and year out: A phenomenal defender and shotblocker good for, on season's balance, 10-11 points, a shade below 8 rebounds and over 2 blocks a game. Like Hinrich, Okafor has a brutal contract that could see him get moved sometime in the near future, but for now, he's the Nuggets' blue-collar, unsung hero.

Shawne Williams is by and large a completely average player, though he does have an impressive inside shot. He averaged career highs of 12 points and 7.2 rebounds this year, his first as a full-time starter, but the general consensus is that he's going to get eaten alive against Okafor.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
For the first time in his career, Dan Jacobson averaged a double-double with 10.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in this, his fourth season, after narrowly missing the mark the previous years. Jacobson is huge at 7'5, 290 lbs and a mammoth defensive presence. Although his scoring average doesn't show it, he made great strides this year in his offensive game. The biggest question mark is how he's going to hold up in the glare of the playoffs. He was horrible in 2010 with the Wizards and nondescript last year. Can this finally be his breakthrough postseason?

Hilton Armstrong is a much smaller (6'11, 235 lbs), much more diluted version of Jacobson, even though his 8.9 points and 10 rebounds suggests a closer affinity than their talent levels indicate. He's also been even worse in the playoffs than Jacobson's been, making this position battle an emphatic advantage for Denver.

Advantage: Nuggets

Bench
Whichever one of Patrick Pastner or Vince Carter is the 6th man gives something the previous Nuggets teams lost after Chauncey Billups departed the team: a genuine offensive threat. The Nuggets front office is extremely high on 21 year old 3rd year big man Phillip Gill, though his discomfort with handling the ball will likely prevent him from ever being an elite center. Marcus Williams is a pass-first PG, another one of the Great Trade pieces, who quietly rose as the season went on to become one of Denver's key reserves. Steven Caspers is the defensive stopper, one who can surprise with the occasional outburst of points.

Tyrone Dotson, taken at 1.15 by the Wizards in the same draft that Gill went 1.10 to the Pacers, is, like Gill, a high-ceiling guy his front office raves about. Unlike Gill, he's much more polished and has been a very nice all-around 6th man and a free agent steal by the Spurs, one who should get much more than the pedestrian one-year deal the promising young forward signed the past offseason. Quincy Douby, imported via free agency from the defending champion Raptors, is a jolt of offense off the bench and Paul Millsap provides the rebounding boost, something that Denver doesn't have. However, in counterpoint, the Spurs don't have a pure passer, nor do they have a defensive stopper.

Advantage: Draw

Final Thoughts
On paper, this should be a blowout for Denver, possibly even a sweep. However, given the mercurial nature of this Nuggets squad, such lofty expectations should not be gambled on. Far more likely is that Denver pulls out the win, but will struggle some in getting it.
Prediction: Nuggets in 6

Heh. At least they're predicting us to win.

Game One
High-energy atmosphere. Opening playoff game at home, the whole works. Should be a nice game, right? Kirk Hinrich scores 26, Dan Jacobson puts up 16 points and 13 rebounds, Emeka Okafor 10 points and 11 rebounds. We also hold Shawne Williams to 0 points and Hilton Armstrong to 2 points. So you're thinking we won big, right? Wrong. Paul Pierce rips us apart for 26 points, the same amount Joe Johnson hits us for and their bench makes up for the suckiness of their starters, as Tyrone Dotson scores 15 and Quincy Douby, the most maddeningly clutch player I've ever had the misfortune to watch, adds 11 points for the Spurs and so San Antonio steals away the win.
Final: San Antonio 96 Denver 89

Game Two
We were pissed about the opening game and Larry Brown reminded our boys to take care of the fundamentals and everything else will fall into place against a team we should be owning. So what do we do? We go out and crush them with hard-nosed defense, frustrating them all night long. The offense is taken care of by Kirk Hinrich with 22 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds and a steal and Dan Jacobson continues to show improved postseason play with 13 points and 11 rebounds. We definitely needed this victory and we got it convicingly.
Final: San Antonio 73 Denver 95

Game Three
This, in my opinion, is one of the most critical contests of the series, as it's in San Antonio and a win for us here would be a huge differencemaker in momentum. Joe Johnson sends my stomach churning when he blitzes us for 36 points and Shawne Williams narrowly misses a double-double with 19 points and 9 rebounds. But Dan Jacobson betters Williams with 21 points and 9 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich scores 22, Patrick Pastner continues to look more comfortable every game, scoring 20 in this one and our own bench comes through this game as Marcus Williams scores 14 and Phillip Gill yanks down 10 boards to secure the crucial win.
Final: Denver 105 San Antonio 98

Game Four
Win here and we've got them on the ropes. Lose and it's back into the dogfight. Mateen Yeaton finally awakens with 24 points, just missing the double-double with 9 rebounds. Patrick Pastner is fully warmed up now and scores 22. Kirk Hinrich plays floor general well with 17 points and 13 assists and Dan Jacobson is definitely looking like a new playoff man this series with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Spurs just can't answer us as Joe Johnson has a horrific 5-for-23 night and their best players are Shawne Williams with 17 points and 13 rebounds and Paul Millsap with 13 points. I still plan to go get Tyrone Dotson in the offseason, though.
Final - Denver 101 San Antonio 89

Toronto swept the Magic and every other series is at 3-1, including some shocking potential upsets that I won't report on at the risk of being a spoiler and a jinx. I'll jot them down if and when they occur.

Game Five
I'd love to just win the series right here at home and put the Spurs away. But it looks like we left our hearts in San Antonio as we shoot an ugly 39.8% as a team, Emeka Okafor perversely choosing this game to be our lone highlight with 17 points and 16 rebounds. On the Spurs end, Shawne Williams keeps his nice series going with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Hilton Armstrong of all people is Player of the Game with 14 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. Yeah, it was that kind of game. Quincy Douby continues to be the Robert Horry of this generation with 11 bench points. Damned disgusting loss.
Final - San Antonio 92 Denver 80

Just two of the series were completed after Game 5 with favorites winning in both. Dallas earned a date with either us or San Antonio in the next round by beating Utah and much to my disgruntlement, the Pacers knock off Milwaukee to advance as well.

Game Six
Now that we know our opponent, we -have- to win. I don't want us drained after a seven-game marathon against the relatively refreshed Mavericks. It's another scrappy, knock-down battle in San Antonio. Joe Johnson scores 21 to lead both teams, Hilton Armstrong gets 12 points and 14 boards and Quincy Douby plays the little reserve dagger role again with 13 bench points. Mateen Yeaton out and out stinks up the joint with a 3-of-13 night and I'm sweating it out, but Vince Carter, fully healed and starting again at SF, leads the team with 18 points, Kirk Hinrich just misses a double-double with 12 points and 9 assists and Patrick Pastner adds 12 points back in his 6th man role. But the real hero of the game and its official award-winner is the man who has made this series his own personal redemption story. Dan Jacobson wins Player of the Game with 13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks and 2 steals and we win too, gaining a measure of redemption for ourselves as a team.
Final: Denver 91 San Antonio 81

I'll admit, I'm more relieved than ecstatic at winning the opening round. The matchup will be a lot tougher in the next round against Jonte Jones and that whole Dallas crew, but maybe we can pull it off.

Miracles do happen, after all.

Such as the Grizzlies upsetting the Timberwolves in six games.

And the 76ers stunning perennial playoff powerhouse Charlotte in six as well.

And the greatest miracle of all.

(8) Sacramento 4
(1) L.A. Lakers 2
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Old 08-24-2008, 07:08 PM   #190
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
The Celtics beat the Pistons in Game 7 in the only first round series to go the distance, making the path for the Toronto Raptors considerably easier in the second round.

But I can't be worried about what's going on in the East because we've got a tough matchup on our hands in the second round against Dallas. It used to be that the Mavericks were one of the easier opponents for us, but that was before Jonte Jones developed into one of the top three best centers in the league.

Let's take a look at the tale of the tape.

"...Denver again advances to the second round, but there's still lingering questions about the Nuggets' consistency, questions that will have to be answered satisfactorily if they want to get past Dallas.

Point Guard
Kirk Hinrich won a ring with the Bulls in 2009 and that playoff experience showed in Round 1, where he led Denver in points and assists with 17.5 and 9.3 respectively. He was also tops on the team in steals with 1.7 and his reputation as the most consistent, steady Nugget who's the perfect fit for Denver's offense continutes to grow.

At 36 years old, Jason Terry is a faded player, but still a fairly good one, averaging 13.6 points and 7.6 assists in the first round. His defense is passable, his ballhandling skills average for a PG, but Dallas is going to miss Devin Harris and regret having traded him away at more than one point in this series.

Advantage: Nuggets

Shooting Guard
One of the most impressive things about Denver's opening round over San Antonio was that they did it despite Mateen Yeaton shooting a simply shocking 36.7% from the floor. While Yeaton made up for his offensive woes somewhat with 5.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.8 blocks a game, he needs to get untracked against the Mavericks or the Nuggets are going home.

Unfortunately for Nuggets fans, Josh Howard has the defensive stopper ability that Joe Johnson did last round for the Spurs and he also has the size to counterbalance Yeaton. While Howard isn't the megastar that Yeaton has acquired the title of, he's outplaying Yeaton on the offensive end in the playoffs, averaging 15.6 points on 51.2% shooting in the first round.

Advantage: Draw

Small Forward
Starting Vince Carter may come back to haunt Larry Brown, as Carter, while an accomplished shooter, doesn't have the defensive game needed to combat his studly opponent. Worse still, at 6'6, 225 lbs, the 36 year old gives up a ton of size and will likely be abused all series long. Patrick Pastner, who is much bigger and better defensively should be starting.

Go ahead. Try to say he's too old and that his game is on the decline. The fact of the matter is, Dirk Nowitzki hasn't let being 35 bother him one bit and he has the 20.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in Round 1 of the playoffs to prove it. 7', 245 lbs, he's one tall glass of water who's going to be in Carter's face every single game of this series and be a major benefit to Dallas.

Advantage: Mavericks

Power Forward
Emeka Okafor is having a quietly successful postseason, averaging 10.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, a steal and 2.3 blocks. He'll have his usual workmanlike solid statistics in this round, while making his presence felt most greatly on the defensive end of the floor.

Daniel Wilder keeps improving every year, but the 23 year old, now in his 5th season, is still no match for Okafor, as his 8 points and 5.8 rebounds from the first round illustrates. Overall though, this position battle is not considered one of the major matchups of this series.

Advantage: Nuggets

Center
Dan Jacobson really blossomed in the first round, shedding his reputation as a playoff pansy with an average of 15 points and 10 rebounds on the nose against San Antonio. Of course, it must be noted that he was abusing a much smaller, much less talented player in Hilton Armstrong.

Jonte Jones looked MVP-like against Utah, putting up 22 points, 15.6 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocks a game against the Jazz. As much as Jacobson's improved, he's still light years behind Jones, who should be All-NBA this year again and who, scarily for the other teams in the league, still has some growth potential.

Advantage: Mavericks

Bench
Patrick Pastner should be starting at SF and even though he wasn't in the first five in the last game of the San Antonio series, he still averaged 15.2 points and 1.3 steals. He'll be a matchup nightmare for the Mavericks coming off the bench. Marcus Williams was a notable presence as well in the opening round and Phillip Gill is averaging 5 points per game in just over 11 minutes, compared to 5.6 points a game in 24 minutes per contest last year for Indiana.

Second year guard Jamar Barnes averaged 8.8 points versus Utah, F/C Mike Patterson 7.6. Jeff Green is always a solid all-around bench player, but the boneheaded move that Dallas is making is that they're giving defensive stopper Thabo Sefolosha just 7.6 minutes per game and they need to amp up his time against the firepower-leaden Mavericks.

Advantage: Draw

Final Thoughts
Tough luck for the Nuggets, who simply looked outclassed here. Even at PG and PF, where they hold the edge, the magnitude isn't nearly as great as the other positions and Jonte Jones will make this series his own personal house party, much as he did last year. Denver's only hope is if Mateen Yeaton breaks his shooting slump.
Prediction: Dallas in 5

Thanks for the vote of confidence, guys. Although I have to privately admit, I wonder myself if we've got the ability to beat the Mavericks. They do match up aggravatingly well against us...

Game One
A nightmare. That's the only way to describe this game as Dirk Nowitzki goes gangbusters for 34 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block, Jason Terry scores 21 and Jonte Jones hits us for 20 points and 10 rebounds. On our end, Dan Jacobson had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich 19 points and 13 assists, and Patrick Pastner led the reserves with 10 points, but this was an out and out asskicking. Not a good start at all.
Final - Denver 97 Dallas 115

Game Two
We go in the lockerroom down 50-39 at the end of the first half and I'm anticipating another soul-crushing blowout defeat, but then we come out hot and don't stop, scorching them 70-53 in the second half to snatch a -huge- victory. Vince Carter finishes with 24 points, Emeka Okafor gets 10 points and 12 rebounds, Mateen Yeaton scrapes out 22 points, Kirk Hinrich mirrors Okafor's double-double with 12 points and 10 assists and Patrick Pastner continues to be our saving bench grace with 15 points. Dirk Nowitzki is having one hell of a series, as he supersedes Game 1 with 41 points here and Jonte Jones does better as well, with 25 points and 12 rebounds. But Jason Terry is held to the poor man's double of 10 points and 10 assists and the rest of the Mavericks just fall apart down the stretch.
Final - Denver 109 Dallas 103

Game Three
Can we ride the Big Mo shift and the return home to seize the series lead? Mateen Yeaton electrifies the home crowd with 29 points, Kirk Hinrich dishes out 10 points and 18 assists and Patrick Pastner scores 14 off the bench. But all five Mavericks starters score double-digits, led by the unreal Jonte Jones with 28 points, 16 rebounds, assist, 3 blocks and 2 steals and we're left staring down the business end of a heartbreaking, loaded gun in a crushing loss.
Final - Dallas 113 Denver 100

Game Four
I'm scared to even watch this game and I have to take three Prilosec throughout the day to try and calm the acid reflux raging in my stomach and throat. The pills help, but not as much as seeing us shoot nearly 60% from the field (59.5%), led by Kirk Hinrich with a devastating 34 points and 16 assists, Mateen Yeaton his second with 26 points, Emeka Okafor a doubler with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Phillip Gill coming through with 13 bench points. That's not to say Dallas didn't try their damndest. Dirk Nowitzki continued his amazing series with 31 points, Jonte Jones scored 21 and the Mavericks bench played brilliantly, with 20 points from Jamar Barnes and 12 rebounds from Josh McRoberts, but in the end we even up the series, helped by a torrid 42-30 2nd quarter to punch Dallas in the mouth before the half. It's a bloody series, oh yes.
Final - Dallas 108 Denver 116

Much to my chagrin, the only sweep in the second round is Indiana knocking out the 76ers. The Pacers are looking very crisp, Ben Gordon leading the team with 20.6 points, Paulinho Buboltz averaging a surprising double-double of 13.7 points and 10 assists and they've got just incredible offensive balance all around. The real kick in the teeth is that Joakim Noah is the starting C now and he's averaging 7.8 points and 9.8 rebounds thus far in the postseason.

Every other series is knotted up at two a piece, making Indiana's success all the more striking.

Game Five
It goes without saying that this is the most important game in the series. The winner shoves the loser to the brink of elimination. We need to steal another win in Dallas. That's all there is to it. So what do we do? Go out and play the worst damned game I've ever seen any team play in any playoff game anywhere. Patrick Pastner was the only Nugget ready to play, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Jonte Jones rapes us for 38 points, 16 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals. A god-damned near triple-double! It was a magnificient performance, one for the ages and we had to swallow every last bitter drop of it and Dirk Nowitzki's insult-to-injury 20 points.
Final - Denver 77 Dallas 105

Game Six
Miracles happen, right? It's a very faint belief, threadbare by this point, but it's all I have left. All -we- have left. And what happens? We follow up our worst game of the series with our best, Kirk Hinrich again coming through with 30 points just when we need it most. Mateen Yeaton scores 25 and Patrick Pastner is absolutely masterful in hitting the exact same 25 points off the bench. It was inspiring, almost as inspiring as limiting Jonte Jones to 15 points and 21 rebounds. Jason Terry scored 21 and Jamar Barnes added 14 points off the bench, but we force our way to a deciding Game 7!!!
Final Dallas 99 Denver 110

It's thrilling second-round action all around, as every other series save Indiana/Philadelphia goes to the ultimate limit as well. The papers and the Internet are alive with chatter that this might be the most exciting round of playoff basketball in NBA history.

Oh please oh please, let us beat Dallas....

Game Seven
My stomach was jumpy before Game 4. It ceases to function entirely before this game, to where I can't even eat. I just drink water. Lots of it. Because I'm sweating profusely from the tension. It's a frenzied crowd in Dallas, who want to see their team have their own breakthrough in going to the Conference Finals, while we're trying to pull off the miracle in hostile territory. We pour it all out on the court, leaving every last bit of energy we have out there. Mateen Yeaton scores 23 to lead all scorers, Emeka Okafor plays well with 12 points and 17 rebounds and Patrick Pastner again rises to the occasion with 16 points to lead the reserves. Daniel Wilder counters with 13 points and 11 assists for Dallas, Jonte Jones chimes in with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Jeff Green the top benchman with 10 points. It's a game that's neck-and-neck, but Kirk Hinrich, the one whose clutch shooting has gotten us so far, fails on the one night we needed him most, finishing just 1 for 8. With his collapse, so too our dreams of championship glory fade away into the night, while delerium reigns in the stands.
Final - Denver 88 Dallas 93

Misery has a lot of company tonight as millions of people sit home heartbroken in Denver and in Sacramento, where the headiness of shocking the Lakers evaporates in the bitterness of a Game 7 loss to Memphis.

But nowhere is the pain greater than in Canada, where the mighty Raptors, the defending champions who looked poised to become the first repeat champions since I entered the league, are shocked by the Celtics 111-109 in Toronto. A two-point game. One single stinking bucket in a game that saw 23 lead changes and 12 ties.

I feel their agony. Defeat is hell.
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:28 PM   #191
rjolley
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Still enjoying the dynasty. If I wasn't enjoying NBA2K8 and CH2K8, I'd buy DDS: PB for my basketball sim kick...still might.
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:08 PM   #192
boberot
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Brutal, man.

It's funny how you start to develop that sense of dread when you know you're overmatched going into a playoff series.

Keep your chin up.
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Old 08-25-2008, 04:58 PM   #193
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Tough loss, so very close. It seems that Yeaton was not the gamebreaker in the playoffs that you needed, but everyone else on the team seemed to produce 200%. That's good for you going forward.

That Knicks owner can't have any doubt at this point about where he went wrong.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:33 AM   #194
Izulde
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rjolley: The TPB/DDS:PB series is probably the most addicting text-sim series ever for me. Can't explain why, it just is. Glad to hear you're still enjoying it.

boberot: Thanks. I'd forgotten until I was scanning over it that the Mavericks made the Finals last year and that we'd gotten swept by them. I think it goes to show just how much we improved that we were able to take Dallas to 7 games. Also, at this point, I'm about ready to say that Jonte Jones is this generation's Shaq in terms of dominance.

Autumn: Excellent points and although I didn't mention it, Yeaton had some minor injuries in the playoffs that I think impacted his play a little bit, in addition to having quality defenders covering him in both series. I know he's capable of more; it just remains to be seen if he can finally break through that ceiling over the course of the next several seasons. I do think we'll be in very good shape next year as I think Patrick Pastner is a better player at SF overall than Vince Carter, who we're obviously not going to re-sign.

I'd say I feel sorry for the Knicks, but I don't. I -do- feel sorry for Knicks fans, though. I'm sure they're looking at the success we're having here in Denver and thinking the What If game to themselves.
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:55 AM   #195
Izulde
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The ache is still there as I ponder what might have been while watching the surreal conference finals that see stunning upsets. Memphis and Boston both down Dallas and Indiana in six games, the Grizzlies victory all the more impressive as they fought back from a 2-0 hole.

And so we have the most unlikeliest of NBA Finals; the restored-to-glory Celtics and the newly arisen Grizz.

Point Guard
Chris Gearheart has turned these playoffs into his coming out party. After three regular seasons of 15-16 points a game average, he's broken out and led the Grizzlies with 18.2 points and 7.6 assists in the playoffs and are a major reason why Memphis is in the Finals. He may not have the glitzy numbers of some of the league's other young stars, but he's only 21.

Delonte West has been the C's starting PG for as long as I've been in the league, even though he's really not that good, very ordinary in all areas in fact.. He's averaging 13.8 points and 6.6 assists in the playoffs and I have a feeling Gearheart is going to eat him alive.

Advantage: Memphis

Shooting Guard
Durko Jagr made noticeable strides in his offensive game in this, his third season, and the Croatian still has some potential to develop into a sharpshooter. Good all-around numbers in the playoffs as well, with 13.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists.

Raise your hand if you thought Jamal Crawford would end up the starting SG on an NBA Finals team. I didn't think so. Still, for the past 3 seasons, he's been Boston's starting SG, consistently averaging between 12-13 points a game. He's averaging 12.4 in the playoffs so far, but has no other noteworthy statistics.

Advantage: Memphis

Small Forward
Rudy Gay is an excellent defender with considerable scoring touch (18 points a game in the regular season, 17 in the playoffs). He's also averaging just shy of 7 rebounds in the postseason and while by no means an elite-level player, he's the kind of very good all-around second-tier star type of player that no one team with championship aspirations can do without.

Gerald Green just keeps getting better and better at shooting as the years go by. He averaged a career high 17 points in the regular season and with his 21.2 points per game last playoffs and 17.9 this postseason, he's developing a reputation as a clutch scorer. That being said, he doesn't offer anywhere close to the rebounding or defensive talents that Gay does.

Advantage: Memphis

Power Forward
Pau Gasol is having the worst statistical season of his career. He averaged just 16.3 points a game in the regular season and just 16.7 points in the playoffs. However he's made up for his postseason scoring lack with a career high 8.8 rebounds a game in this playoffs. While he may have lost of some of his shooting touch, he's still a terrific rebounder and his size creates mismatch problems.

There's no question that the heart and soul of the Celtics is Al Jefferson, who has averaged just shy of 20 points, 8-9 rebounds and 2 blocks a game the last three years. He's been dominant in the playoffs, with impressive numbers of 23.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. He's the complete player, who can score, rebound, block, play very good defense and is one of the most underrated, intelligent players in the league. Last year was his first All-NBA appearance (3rd Team) and he's made the All-Star game the past three seasons. Despite these accolades, the mainstream press doesn't seem to tab him as one of the NBA's top-flight players, which he is.

Advantage: Boston

Center
Jokes about Narcyz Malinomowski's porous defense, such as my own nicknaming of him as the Great Polish Sieve are like the wisecracks in the late 90's and early '00s about Shaquille O'Neal's free-throwing shooting: Valid to a point, but only to a point. It's particularly true in Narcyz's case, as he's been working hard to merely be supbar, rather than a cardboard cutout on defense. In spite of his shortcomings on defense, he's the most beloved Grizzly of them all, probably because he's averaged around 15 points and 10 rebounds the last three seasons and has been Memphis's starting C since he was drafted with the 2nd overall pick in 2009. He'll get his points, he'll get his rebounds and he'll definitely get his blocks, having worked his tail off to improve in that area, to the point where he's averaged 2.7 and 2.6 rejections the past two regular seasons. For the postseason, he's averaging 2.8, to go with his 15.3 points and 9.1 rebounds.

Ben Searcy is not normally the C's starting center. He's only there because Spencer Hawes is battling a twisted ankle. Searcy's not very good at anything, whereas Hawes does a lot of things pretty well, but isn't exceptional at anything. No question which team has the advantage here.

Advantage: Memphis

Bench
Marvin Williams has really earned his paycheck since signing in free agency last season. A part-time starter in 2012, he's been the team's 6th man in 2013, averaging 9.5 points and 4.7 rebounds off the bench in the regular season, 9.7 points and 6.4 rebounds in the playoffs. He plays all 5 positions and like, Hawes, is a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, only Williams is the absolute maestro at the concept. There's also former Nugget Chauncey Billups, who at 37 doesn't get many minutes after signing a min-sal deal with Memphis, but he's still quite capable of running an NBA offense.

I've already noted Spencer Hawes, who's the 6th man while he deals with the twisted ankle. 25 year old Argentinian Federico Gomez is a terrific defensive player at all aspects of the game and a good rebounder. Rodney Stuckey has been a colossal bust since being taken 3rd overall by the Bobcats in 2007, but he provides some scoring punch off the bench. There's another pair of ex-Denver players, Marcus Camby and Nene Hilario on the Celtics bench, but Camby's 39 and Nene has long since proven that he's nothing more than a roster filler player. Good thing I traded him.

Advantage: Boston

Final Thoughts
On paper, Memphis is going to absolutely clobber Boston. But the Celtics do have a better bench and Al Jefferson is going to shut down Pau Gasol in my opinion. The problem for Boston is the Grizzlies' offense is too balanced to focus on shutting down any one player and Marvin Williams's versatility is going to give the Celtics coaching staff headaches. I just can't see my favorite team (that's not the Nuggets in this universe, I hasten to add), pulling it out. Memphis has just done too good a job in building this team.
Prediction: Memphis in 6

Game 1
Things open up in Boston and Al Jefferson takes all his frustrations at being underrated out on the Grizzlies, devastating Memphis for 26 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. Gerald Green just misses 20 points with 19 and Jerrance Newman scores 10 points in 8 minutes off the bench for Boston. It's enough to get the Celtics the opening win, as only Narcyz Malinomowski comes to play for Memphis, finishing with 18 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks. So much for the vaunted Grizzly balance, at least for tonight. Spencer Hawes, by the way, is fully recovered from his twisted ankle and is starting again.
Final - Memphis 75 Boston 106

Game 2
Rudy Gay was on a mission to lead Memphis to a series evening and played brilliantly with 27 points, but once again, the Grizzlies lacked offense outside of one player and Boston responded more than adequately, as Delonte West surprised with 20 points, Al Jefferson doubled with 11 points and 13 rebounds and another unsung Celtics reserve stepped up, Ben Searcy the hero this time with an astonishing 17 points and 11 rebounds. It all adds up to a 2-0 Celtics lead and a suddenly impotent looking Grizzlies offense.
Final - Memphis 78 Boston 98

Game 3
None of the games so far in this Finals have been close and tonight's isnt either as the Grizzlies finally wake up from their hibernation in their home cave. Durko Jagr just misses a triple-double with 26 points, 8 assists, 9 rebounds and a steal, Narcyz Malinomowski and Paul Gasol double with 23 points and 14 rebounds and 14 points and 14 rebounds respectively and Rudy Gay scores 21. For Boston, Gerald Green scores 23 and that's it in a complete reversal of fortune in team play.
Final - Boston 87 Memphis 105

Game 4
At long last, a close game! Narcyz Malinomowski puts on arguably the most brilliant performance of this Finals with 27 points, 11 rebounds, an assist and 6 blocks (Durko Jagr might disagree with the most brilliant and point to his Game 3 showing), Pau Gasol does well with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Marvin Williams scores 11 off the bench. The Celtics counter with 26 points and 10 rebounds from Al Jefferson, 19 points and 10 assists from Delonte West and astounding bench play from Ben Searcy with 13 rebounds. But the real heroic Celtic warrior was Rodney Stuckey, who banished all the memories and struggles with 15 bench points, every one of which was needed as Boston prevailed by 3 points over the Grizzlies and seized a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Final - Boston 99 Memphis 96

Game 5
Frenzied crowd in Boston as the Celtics seek their first NBA championship since 1986. The fans witness Al Jefferson putting on a virtuoso performance of 34 points and 12 rebounds, 11 points and 14 rebounds from Spencer Hawes and 14 bench points from Ben Searcy, who has really established himself as a hot commodity in just his second season. (The Celtics hold his salary for the next year at least, though). Rudy Gay tries to lead the Grizzlies back to a fighting chance with 21 points and Chris Gearheart, who's been asleep all series, finally has a good game with 16 points and 10 assists, but even that and even Kendrick Perkins's 10 bench points aren't enough to prevent the fourth blowout in five games and at long last, after a 27 year drought, another championship banner to hang from the rafters in Boston.
Final - Memphis 93 Boston 113

Al Jefferson's contract expires after this season and should this be his last year in a Celtics uniform, he's gone out with a ring and with one of the greatest Finals series since I've been in the league. Interest in him is going to be running and Boston's front office would be stupid not to throw all the money it can at him.

It's nice to see the Celtics win, even nicer that they did it in an underdog role.

Still, I can't help but feel that this should've been our year, our turn to win another title.

But there's always next year....
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:33 PM   #196
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
NBA Lottery
1. Houston Rockets (+5)
2. New Jersey Nets (-1)
3. Portland Trailblazers (+10)
4. New Orleans Hornets (-2)
5. Washington Wizards (-2)
6. Golden State Warriors (-2)
7. New York Knicks (-2)
8. Atlanta Hawks (-1)
9. Cleveland Cavaliers (-1)
10. Chicago Bulls (-1)
11. Los Angeles Clippers (-1)
12. Seattle Supersonics (-1)
13. Miami Heat (-1)
14. Phoenix Suns

The Rockets and Trailblazers are the big-time winners here, obviously. I'm not happy about seeing a divisional foe gain such a drastic leap, but on the other hand, I think I've made our team good enough to be dominant within the Northwest for a few more years to come.

Awards
MVP
Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers - 19.2 ppg 11.9 rpg 3.1 apg 2.2 bpg 0.9 spg
Defensive Player of the Year
Andrei Kirilenko - Utah Jazz - 11.5 ppg 8.4 rpg 3.4 apg 3.8 bpg 1.4 spg
Rookie of the Year
Buddy Bracey - Cleveland Cavaliers - 11.2 ppg 5.4 rpg 2.5 apg 1.1 spg
6th Man of the Year
Tony Parker - Indiana Pacers - 14.9 ppg 2.5 rpg 4.4 apg 0.8 spg
Coach of the Year
Rudy Tomjanovich - Indiana Pacers

Very deserving awards for Tony Parker and Rudy T. But Bynum as MVP? What a joke! There were so many players far more deserving than that, but then, the voters are idiots.

All-NBA 1st Team
PG Dwayne Wade - Miami Heat
SG Lebron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
SF Dirk Nowitzki - Dallas Mavericks
PF Elton Brand - Los Angeles Clippers
C Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers

All-NBA 2nd Team
PG Gilbert Arenas - Washington Wizards
SG Ben Gordon - Indiana Pacers
SF Rudy Gay - Memphis Grizzlies
PF Tyrus Thomas - Philadelphia 76ers
C Jonte Jones - Dallas Mavericks

All-NBA 3rd Team
PG Chris Paul - New Orleans Hornets
SG Mateen Yeaton - Denver Nuggets
SF Carmelo Anthony - New York Knicks
PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-Defense 1st Team
PG Dwayne Wade - Miami Heat
SG Kevin Martin - Sacramento Kings
SF Andrei Kirilenko - Utah Jazz
PF Tyrus Thomas - Philadelphia 76ers
C Greg Oden - Toronto Raptors

All-Defense 2nd Team
PG Calvis Graham - Golden State Warriors
SG Lebron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
SF Gerald Wallace - Charlotte Bobcats
PF Emeka Okafor - Denver Nuggets
C Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers

All-Rookie 1st Team
PG Branko Starcevic - Seattle Supersonics
SG Charles Seegars - Chicago Bulls
SF Buddy Bracey - Cleveland Cavaliers
PF Pete Totten - New York Knicks
C Martin Beerbohm - New Jersey Nets

All-Rookie 2nd Team
PG Donovan McCarthy - Minnesota Timberwolves
SG Jerian McCrary - Portland Trailblazers
SF Ron McPherson - New Orleans Hornets
PF Kerwin Haston - Washington Wizards
C Chris Washington - Utah Jazz

First time ever we've had two award winners for one of my teams in a season as far as I can recall. Gordon and Yeaton flip-flopped from last year, but that's all right. I personally would've given Jonte Jones the MVP and 1st Team C award.

Want to know how little an impact this year's rookie PG class had? McCarthy, the All-Rookie 2nd teamer, averaged less than a point and an assist per game.

Utah Six

PG Brandon Brooks - Portland Trailblazers
Averaged 11.9 points and career highs in assists and rebounds with 9.2 and 3.8 respectively. 28 years old now, he's been a major disappointment relative to his selection as the 2nd overall pick. Oh, he's still a fan favorite and a smart player who has good defense, but he's not a gamechanger, nor is he an explosive player.

PF Kelvin Moody - Minnesota Timberwolves
Showed no ill effects from the injury that limited him to 60 games last year in averaging 18.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks a game en route to All-NBA 3rd Team honors and his fourth straight All-Star game. The scary part is, he's still just 25 and looks to have a long, successful career ahead of him.

SF Julius Austin - Miami Heat
Fought his way back to being a part-time starter this year, with 50 starts and 73 appearances. He averaged 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds, while continuing to be the most underrated defensive player in the league. He's set financially for the next few years, signed with Miami through his year 32 season (29 now).

C Rudy Braun - New York Knicks
What a difference a year makes. Braun went from being the starting C in New York all the way to an end of the bench player, averaging just 6.5 minutes a game in 66 games, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds. That said, the $3-4 million a year, 6 -year contract extension he signed with the Knicks last season likely ensures he'll stay in New York and in consequence the NBA, for some time to come.

PF B.J. Whitehead - Los Angeles Lakers
Signed just before the season started to a min-sal deal with the Purple and Gold, where his horrible ballhandling skills doomed him to the end of the bench. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6 minutes a game for 50 games. Unlike Braun, he doesn't have contract security so he's likely out of the league after this season, especially since he's now 29.

SF Brian Robertson - Idaho Buckaroos
Just when I thought he was done for good, Robertson squeezes another $35,000 out of a D-League team in signing with the Buckaroos as a free agent. Sure he sat on the inactive list and didn't appear in a game (his last appearance came in 2010, in fact), but at least he was on a roster and earned some money.

B.B. Dyer and I have a chat a few days after the awards are announced. I promise yet another division title next year. He wants more than that, but he'll accept that and although he'd prefer not to be $10-15 million over the cap as I project we'll be, he agrees to that as well.

Honestly, I don't foresee very many changes to the roster this offseason. For once, we're pretty well set in terms of numbers with 11 players under contract and our nucleus of talent looks good enough that I don't anticipate trying to shake things up.

Phillip Gill gets a 2 year, $8.6 million contract extension that'll keep him in Denver for the next three years. I wanted to sign him to a longer term deal, but he and his agent both know that if Gill develops like he has the potential to, he could be looking at a huge payday in a few years. I actually see Gill as the possible heir apparent to Emeka Okafor at PF, even though Gill will never be more than an average defender.

Of course, I being who I am, I can't resist the opportunity to investigate the trade market. A deal with the Chicago Bulls almost comes to fruition, but their front office nixes the trade at the last minute. I come this close to making a trade with the 76ers, but choose not to just before I'm about to sign, although I inform the Philadelphia front office the possibility of the deal is still open, pending the fallout of the draft.

All in all though, it's a pretty rough trade market. The Bulls and 76ers were the only teams we came even remotely close to making a swap with.

The coach hiring season is upon next and we're looking for new 2nd and 3rd assistants. Kevin O'Neill, my top choice for 2nd assistant, takes a little less money to be the top assistant with the Magic. No problems as I make a huge splash the next day in announcing the signing of former Knicks great Patrick Ewing to a 2-year deal as our 2nd assistant.

Not only does Ewing have potential to be a good coach, maybe even a head coach someday, but it's another knife stab in the heart of the Knicks, whose fans are irate when the news breaks of their beloved Patrick to our staff.

Detlef Schrempf returns to our staff, accepting without complaint a demotion to the 3rd assistant role on a 2-year contract for the same amount of money as Ewing.

The pre-draft buzz is all about 19 year old Canadian SG Justin Richler, who averaged 30.4 points a game in a league in the Great White North, though for my money, 19 year old one and done Kansas Jayhawk SF Mark White is the most complete player in this draft class and should go #1.

An amusing story in this class is another 19 year old, a Bulgarian named eric Kostov. Yes, that's right, he spells his first name with the lower-case e. According to what I've been able to find out from our European scouts, Kostov was looking to change his first name to something more appealing to American sponsors and he happened to read an e.e. cummings poem that he was so enchanted by, he settled on eric as his first name. Brilliant, in an Ocho Cinco kind of way.

The mocks have us taking 22 year old PF Jonathan Guyton out of North Carolina. While I'm definitely looking at either PF or PG, as we need more youth at those positions, I'm not at all impressed with Guyton.

Just exactly what we do with the pick is still open to debate. All I know is, my fingers are itching to make some kind of a trade. It's not like me to go this long without dealing.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:08 AM   #197
Izulde
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There's a slew of attractive looking PGs in this draft, so our chances of finding an heir to Kirk Hinrich are quite good. The PF prospects are much less impressive for the kind of guys that we'd likely be able to get, but I scout a few anyway.

2014 NBA Draft 1st Round
1. SF Mark White - Houston Rockets
2. SG Justin Richler - New Jersey Nets

I almost have to feel sorry for the Trailblazers. They luck out in getting all the way to #3 and for their luck, they miss out on the two best players in the draft, bar none.

3. C Morris Allaway - Portland Trailblazers

So they over-reach on a C, though they do need a true five.

4. PG Ray Fields - New Orleans Hornets

I like the way the Hornets are building, grabbing McPherson last year and taking the single-best PG in this draft. Though I have to wonder, what does this mean for Chris Paul?

5. PG Leland Peterson - Washington Wizards

...Not good. All the top-shelf PG talent is flying off the board and the positions's not as deep as I thought.

6. PG Derrick Attaway - Golden State Warriors

..Damn it.

7. SG John Grawer - New York Knicks
8. PG Sam Hamilton - Atlanta Hawks

Okay, I can forget about getting a decent PG now. Way, way too early for Hamilton to go and he's not even that good. I saw him as more a mid-late 1st, tilting more towards the late part of the equation.

9. PG Jeremy Steele - Cleveland Cavaliers
10. SF Shannon Drayton - Chicago Bulls
11. C Chris Driver - Los Angeles Clippers
12. SG Angelo Mascoe - Seattle Supersonics
13. PG eric Kostov - Miami Heat

Heh.

14. SF Alex Watkins - Phoenix Suns
15. SG Damon Jupiter - Orlando Magic

So, remember when I said we were involved in trade discussions with Philadelphia? The #16 pick was part of the deal, but I held off and now I'm glad I did, because there's nobody left that we've scouted who's worthy of the selection. Thus, we're passing.

16. SG Jeremy Thompson - Philadelphia 76ers
17. SF Lannce Dudley - Milwaukee Bucks

No, that isn't a typo. He really does spell his name Lannce.

18. PF Brian Bender - Detroit Pistons
19. SF Jason Tackett - Sacramento Kings
20. C Jimmy Johnson - Utah Jazz
21. PG Ahmad Williams - San Antonio Spurs
22. SG Deon Wiel - Minnesota Timberwolves
23. PG Damien Giesen - Memphis Grizzlies
24. PG Jim Jackson - Boston Celtics
25. SG Leighton Reese - Charlotte Bobcats
26. PG Chris Davis - Indiana Pacers

The experts are yammering for us to take mock draft pick Jonathan Guyton and he's been the best PF on JP's board for a number of picks now, but I just don't see.

Instead, I throw a curveball.

Or rather, two curveballs.

Denver Nuggets receive
PG Brandon Brooks

Portland Trailblazers receive
SG Duez Walker
PG Marcus Williams
Denver Nuggets 2014 2nd round pick (#50)
Denver Nuggets 2016 2nd round pick

What this means for the Nuggets
Although Brooks has never lived up to the lofty billing of being the #2 overall selection, he's a shrewd pickup for Denver, who now vastly upgrades their backcourt depth with a proven PG and guards against Kirk Hinrich's potential age-related decline. In fact, knowing GM Jestor, this could well signal another spinoff involving Hinrich.

What this means for the Trailblazers
Brooks was one of the most popular players on the team, so the fans won't be happy about a trade that doesn't involve a 1st round pick. Walker showed flashes of talent as a rookie, but was squeezed out in Denver's rotation last year during the wholesale makeover. Williams is an underrated PG who moves to his fourth team in as many years and could replace Brooks as the starting PG.

Advantage: Denver
The Nuggets address the need for a true PG heir and clear out some of the clutter in their backcourt, all without giving up their first round pick. That's a win-win situation no matter how you look at it.

In the interest of full confession, I'll admit that I shopped Hinrich around, but it was only casually to see what I could get for him. Turns out not very much considering his age and his beastly contract. I still throw the second curve though.

27. C Lindsey Willamson - Denver Nuggets

You can't teach 7', 277 lbs and the report on Williamson is that he's got great defensive skills, something we can always use more of on our bench. From Kent State, he's just the 6th Golden Flash player ever to be drafted and might finally be the first player I've picked to ever stick with the drafting team long-term.

The pick receives mixed reviews, in sharp contrast to the glowing praise that Duez Walker received a couple years ago, but that's all right. Lindsey fills a need.

28. PG Eddie Hickman - Toronto Raptors
29. SG Jim McPherson - Dallas Mavericks
30. PF Jonathan Guyton - Los Angeles Lakers

J.P. and Chris get into one of the most hilarious arguments I've ever seen following the Guyton pick, as J.P.'s practically purpling with outrage that it took this long for someone to draft Guyton, while Chris fires back with the gold response of, "I was a former player and I know that college standouts don't always cut it at the pro level. You can't understand that because you never played at this level."

Can you say burn? I knew you could! Congratulations anyway, Purple and Gold, for making JP semi-happy.

With no second round pick thanks to the Brooks trade, I ignore the rest of the draft and just field phone calls about the deal we made and our selection of Williamson.

After we get done renouncing all the rights to our free agents, none of whom we have any real interest in bringing back, we've got 11 players under contract still and are just over $1 million in terms of the cap. I think Mr. Dyer is going to be quite happy with that.

Lindsey Williamson looks to be none too bright a player, though he's a great defender already with good shotblocking instincts and some rebounding potential. The coaching staff vows to work with him in training camp and see if they can't make more out of him.

Williamson and Phillip Gill are the only two Nuggets to go summer leaguing.

With such a scrubby team, it's little wonder that Dallas beats us 106-97 in the Summer League opener, although Kyle Smith raises eyebrows with 22 points for us and Chris Irwin has 12 points and 14 rebounds as a reserve.

On the other hand, we wallop Golden State 92-67 as Kyle Smith leads all scorers with 19. Lindsey Williamson shows surprising shooting touch in scoring 10 and 14 points the first two games, keeping pace with Phillip Gill's 11 and 12 points in the same contests.

Hard luck in a 103-98 loss in Atlanta, although Kyle Smith scored 18, Kurt Ware doubled with 16 points and 10 assists and Cedric Tolliver and Pat Morris each put up 10 points off the bench. Smith, a 22 year old 3rd year player and former 1st round draft pick of the Magic (13th overall selection in the 2012 draft) is showing some serious game and has some real potential to become a -very- good player. In fact, he's playing so well in the summer league, we're going to try and offer him a contract.

Kyle Smith plays magnificiently in an 82-80 loss to the Bulls, scoring 24 and looking sensational. Chris Irwin grabbed 10 bench rebounds, Pat Morris 10 reserve points, but Smith has really stolen the spotlight in taking the Summer League by storm. Between him and Tyrone Dotson from the Spurs, I've pretty much got my free agency wishlist written up.

We close out the summer league with our best performance of the season, a 104-84 thrashing of the Celtics led by, who else? Kyle Smith with 25 points. Pat Morris had 10 bench points and should catch on somewhere, in the D-league if nothing else. Phillip Gill scored 16 in the final game, while Lindsey Williamson was a perfect 7/7 and finished with 14 points. He very well could turn out a late 1st round steal for us.

And so we'll take a break on that happy note. I'm thrilled to have discovered Smith and can't wait to land him, even if we have to give him the mid-level exemption. I see that kind of potential in him.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:22 PM   #198
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
A ton of free agents in the market this year who are very intriguing, most of whom are locks to re-sign with their old times.

One high-profile name who could move on: 36 year old Kobe Bryant, who hasn't seen the All-NBA team in a couple of years and who may not get the kind of money he's looking for from the Lakers.

Paulinho Buboltz gets a max deal from Indiana and it's not surprising, considering he averaged 17 points and 9.5 assists a game last year. It appears he's finally taken that step to the next level and while he's not a superstar yet, he's fast approaching it.

The suspense over Kobe Bryant ends fairly early on in free agency when he re-inks with the Lakers for $12.3 million and one more year. I'm not too thrilled to see him back in Purple and Gold, but the Lakers faithful are obviously ecstatic, as are the NBA brass, who definitely wanted him to return to the league's marquee franchise.

Boston made it a mission to re-sign Al Jefferson and they did, rewarding him with a 6 year, $88.1 million contract to keep him with the Celtics. Smart move by the new defending champions, as I think Beantown would've burned had they had let him escape.

We get our man the day after Jefferson re-ups with Boston, signing Kyle Smith to a 5 year, $30 million deal. That same day, the Toronto Raptors steal 3rd year, former #1 overall pick David Anyan away from the Jazz on a max mid-level exemption deal (5 years, $32 mill and change). Utah's going to rue the day they let Anyan away, as the 22 year old SF has the kind of ability that just screams superstar and I mean Kobe Bryant level superstar. To tell you the truth, I almost made a play for him instead of Smith, because Anyan's the complete package. What a steal by the Raptors, who now make me look like I've overpaid for Smith. How good is Anyan? So good he's a probable canidate to be the starting SF. In Toronto.

Tyrone Dotson picks up a nice 4 year, $12.5 million deal to stay a Spur on the same day Caron Butler migrates to Minnesota on a one year, $6 mill and change deal and Mike Bibby joins Utah for one year at $5 million. Money better spent on Anyan, but it's better for us, really.

I punch up our defense by signing Thabo Sefolosha to a two-year max low exemption deal. As you know, I've always been a great admirer of Thabo's skills, so I'm thrilled to add him to our bench.

To complete our team, I bring Peter John Ramos back to Denver on a one-year min-sal deal. My thinking is that by returning Ramos, who played one year for us in 2010, I'll have the luxury of moving Lindsey Williamson to the D-League, where he'll probably be an everyday starter or at least one of the first players off the bench, rather than an end-of-bench guy like he is right now.

This brings us to $9.5 million over the cap, just under the $10 million I predicted to Mr. Dyer.

Two days later, the Lakers get Vince Carter on a min-sal deal and Jermaine O'Neal jumps ship to Detroit on the same terms. Jason Terry bolts to the Rockets for $4.5 million and one year, leaving Dallas in something of a bind as the Mavericks try to stay one of the West's elite teams.

Crazy offseason and in my opinion, the Raptors have once again made themselves the team to beat in the East and the league as a whole. I'm kind of kicking myself for not investigating what Anyan wanted earlier, but on the other hand, there's also no guarantee he would've chosen us over Toronto. I mean, let's be realistic here. The Raptors won the title two years ago and were one missed shot away from going back to the Finals, where they almost certainly would've squashed Memphis and become the first repeat defending champions since I joined the league.

Compare that to the Nuggets, who don't have nearly as distinguished a track recrod, though we're still one of the elite teams in the West, by my own estimation.

And if Anyan -had- chosen the Raptors over us while were battling Toronto for him, we'd have run the risk of missing out on Smith, who loved playing for us in the summer league and who was said to be generating considerable interest.

So it works out. Having Smith is better than having no one of that kind of tantalizing potential at all.

Great training camp as Larry Brown and the rest of the staff declared the starting PG position an open competiton and Kirk Hinrich and Brandon Brooks went at it hard every single day. Hinrich won out, as you might expect, but he told the Denver Post that having Brooks to push him made him an even better player than he's ever been. That's good news, especially since we were worried about age catching up to him.

Kyle Smith busted his tail off in training camp and showed significant improvement as well, which was a relief as I privately worried he might slack off now that he had his big contract.

Much to my chagrin, Mateen Yeaton was the one low spot of camp, as the coaches reported he came in with much less intensity than he'd shown in previous years. Maybe it was a mistake to trade for him after all.

Lindsey Williamson was assigned to the Colorado Timberjacks, where he was named the starting C. I really think it'll be better for his development if he goes down there.

2014 Denver Nuggets Opening Day Lineup
PG Kirk Hinrich
SG Mateen Yeaton
SF Patrick Pastner
PF Emeka Okafor
C Dan Jacobson
6th Brandon Brooks (PG/SG)
7th Kyle Smith (PG/SG/SF)
8th Phillip Gill (SF/PF/C)
9th Thabo Sefolosha (PG/SG/SF)
10th Steven Caspers (SF/PF/C)
11th Shaun Livingston (PG/SG)
12th Peter John Ramos (PF/C)
Inactive Willie Green
D-League Lindsey Williamson

We finally get some preseason love and are picked as the #2 team in the West, behind the habitually underachieving Portland Trailblazers. Duez Walker is buried on the Traiblazer bench to no one's surprise, but what is a small shock is that Marcus Williams lost the starting PG spot to second year guard Jerian McCrary. Although I like the starting five as always, the bench will continue to plague the Trailblazers, particularly a woeful lack of big man depth.

The Raptors are the consensus pick to win the East and win at all, but in typical glue-sniffing fashion, the preseason press picks the Knicks to be the #2 seed in the East. ...Yeah, let's see New York actually make the playoffs period first, okay?

I'm most worried about the Lakers in the West. They're still the most dangerous team in the conference in my opinion, especially after adding Vince Carter as their 6th man. Dallas is going to be hurting with Jason Terry gone and I highly doubt Memphis is going to be able to repeat the magic of last season's Finals run.

What I'm pretty sure about is that our team is a hell of a lot better than it was last year and that we have depth in spades, something we've lacked in previous seasons.
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:26 PM   #199
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
As always, we open with the litmus test of the Lakers on the road Halloween night. Dreadful 36.3% shooting from the field dooms us to a narrow 93-90 defeat. Kyle Smith scores 12 points in 13 minutes in his Denver debut, though and Patrick Pastner and Emeka Okafor both double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 11 points, 13 rebounds in a nifty respective inversing.

Patrick Pastner leads the way with 24 points as we top the Timberwolves 89-77. Larry Brown experiments with Mateen Yeaton at the point, Kyle Smith at SG. Smith shoots a horrific 3 for 13 and Yeaton does okay with 19 points and 6 assists versus 1 turnover. I think we're better with a Hinrich/Yeaton backcourt, but Larry's the boss of the lineup.

My point's proven in a 107-100 loss to the Jazz in our next game. Emeka Okafor plays nicely with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but overall our offense is looking dreadfully out of sync with Brown's new five and our defense is shredded by Utah's starting unit.

Or maybe it's that Utah's better than I think, as they beat us again two nights later, 114-110, on the front end of a doubleheader. This despite 22 points from Kyle Smith, 27 points from Mateen Yeaton and doubleheaders of 19 points and 15 rebounds and 12 points and 11 rebounds from Dan Jacobson and Emeka Okafor. Yeaton really has no business whatsoever being at the point, but Larry's sticking with it. Kyle Smith scores 27 the next night against Seattle, Mateen Yeaton adding 20 points, Brandon Brooks 13 bench points as we throttle Seattle 101-82. I don't know why Kirk Hinrich isn't getting very many minutes, but if he doesn't start getting more PT soon, I may have to think about moving him.

Detroit goes down 89-80 as Mateen Yeaton scores 25. Kirk Hinrich is still averaging under 10 minutes a game ever since the opening night loss to the Lakers. It's really puzzling, but it does seem like we're shooting better as a team after the switch.

103-94 victory over the Kings keeps our small win streak alive. Mateen Yeaton's looking more comfortable at the point with 19 points and 10 assists and Dan Jacobson gets 13 points and 14 rebounds. Brandon Brooks continues to find new life as our 6th man with 12 points off the bench, Phillip Gill adding 10 reserve boards.

Toronto throttles us 97-85 to end our winning ways. Mateen Yeaton scores 22, but the real story of the game is Greg Oden, who sets some records with 18 points, 32 rebounds, 7 blocks and 8 assists. That was almost a quadruple-double. Amazing performance. David Anyan is averaging 20.1 points a game in the young season and playing brilliantly all-around. The Raptors aren't just good this year, they're scary good.

Our best game of the season follows in a 109-76 out-running of the Bulls. Mateen Yeaton garners 20 points and 10 assists, Kyle Smith scores 20 and Patrick Pastner puts up 22 points. I'm still not wholly comfortable with this team, but it's starting to grow on me a little bit.

Thrilling, high-scoring game against Dallas, the home advantage carrying us to the narrow 114-112 win. Kyle Smith is electric, scoring 32 points, ably aided by Patrick Pastner with 23 points and Emeka Okafor with 14 points, 12 rebounds. It's driving me crazy seeing Mateen Yeaton running the point, but on the other hand it'll make for an interesting comparison to Paulinho Buboltz. Hell of a game by Jonte Jones, too; 32 points and 18 rebounds.

I'll tell you one thing, though. This version of the Nuggets, when the offense is in sync, is a beautiful thing to watch. We shoot 60% even against New Jersey, destroying the Nets 117-73. Mateen Yeaton scores 30, Brandon Brooks double-doubles off the bench with 10 points and 11 assists and Steven Caspers leads the reserves with 14 points. Kirk Hinrich continues to get scanty minutes and he's starting to make it an issue to the local press.

But it's hard to argue with the results, as we whomp the Spurs 102-71 on the first night of a back-to-back, Mateen Yeaton leading the charge with 22 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds and a steal, Phillip Gill nearly flawless in scoring 15 points to head up the second unit. We score a sweep by squashing the Rockets 96-78 and that's without Mateen Yeaton in the starting lineup, as he had a concussion. He scored 12 points in reserve duty, but credit for the victory goes to Brandon Brooks (10 points, 10 assists[/b], Patrick Pastner (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Emeka Okafor (14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks).

Or maybe I'll keep Kirk Hinrich, who leads the reserves with 12 points in 10 minutes en route to a 109-92 victory over the Hornets. Mateen Yeaton is still plagued by a concussion and plays fewer minutes this game, but Hinrich's play, Brandon Brooks's 14 points and 16 assists, Kyle Smith's 24 points and Dan Jacobson's 16 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks ensure that we don't miss Mateen in the least. That's how deep we are this year, particularly at the guard spots.

Lebron James is incredible in scoring 38 points against us in the final game of the month, but the Cavaliers can't withstand our balanced attack. We top Cleveland 101-94 as Mateen Yeaton scores 21 in his first game back as a starter, Emeka Okafor adds 12 points and 10 rebounds, [b]Dan Jacobson 11 points and 13 rebounds and Brandon Brooks highlights the bench with 11 points.

So where does that leave us at the end of the first month? 11-4, a game and a half ahead of the Utah Jazz and the Seattle Supersonics in the Northwest.

Dallas is still looking good even without Jason Terry, as they're 12-5 and the Lakers are tops at 13-3, as expected.

Toronto's 14-3 in the East, while Boston and Detroit are 10-4, Indiana a game off the Pistons at 10-5.

Paulinho Buboltz/Mateen Yeaton Comparison

Paulinho Buboltz
2013 Stats: 82 games/77 starts - 17.0 PPG 9.5 APG 3.0 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.2 SPG
2014 Stats: 15 games/15 starts - 20.5 PPG 7.6 APG 2.9 RPG 0.8 BPG 1.5 SPG

Mateen Yeaton
2013 Stats: 82 games/81 starts - 23.3 PPG 2.4 APG 5.2 RPG 1.8 BPG 1.6 SPG
2014 Stats: 15 games/13 starts - 18.5 PPG 6.6 APG 4.3 RPG 1.0 BPG 1.1 SPG

...Ouch. I just have to keep reminding myself though that #1) it's early in the season and #2) Mateen's having to adjust to a position that's not naturally suited for him.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:57 PM   #200
boberot
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Western NY
Sounds like you've got the Nuggets on track. I have a feeling you won't be able to get enough value for your boy Heimlich. *heh, heh.* I tried to move a slightly older TJ Ford in my "dynasty" and had a hell of a time.

Just curious -- have you messed around with the salary cap at all?
Good luck . . . .
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