Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pre-NBA Draft Venting

Well the NBA draft is less than 24 hours away and it is about time the NBA machine got rolling with the first couple of trades going down (Jermaine O'Neal finally gets to put the Pacers and (hopefully) the Melee behind him and move on with his career across the border, while TJ Ford gets to go somewhere where he will be appreciated as a very skilled, but injury-prone point guard, replacing a not-so-skilled, but injury prone point guard in Jamaal Tinsley...oh, and the Bobcats and Blazers each picked up an extra 1st round pick for a future first rounder and cash, respectively). Anyways, leading up to the draft, we have heard all of the experts, prognosticators, and other miscellaneous talking heads predicting who will go first, second, and third in the draft. As much as I usually love this (I love the NBA and the draft is the future of my sport, so...), this year's predictions and reasoning for these predictions has me seriously questioning the intelligence of the media, John Paxson, and Pat Riley for the following statements made:
  • Derrick Rose will be better in the NBA than Michael Beasley
Maybe, maybe not, but shouldn't every GM be building a team to win a championship? A reason everyone is giving for drafting Rose over Beasley are the examples of Chris Paul and Deron Williams because these men are "changing the face of the NBA as we know it". Really? When did this happen? All I see is the same thing that has happened every year since 1990: the teams with the better big men win the titles (of course, there is one exception, but he's an exception to all the rules so MJ is considered the biggest of big men). Other than the Bulls teams, the championship teams were led by Hakeem, Robinson and Duncan, Shaq, Duncan, Sheed and Big Ben (debatable...yes, but you can't deny their HUGE influence), Duncan, Shaq, and KG. While each of those big men had other great players around them to win, those players were the men who when needed could dominate possession of the ball, either with points in the paint, rebounding, and/or interior defense. Name me one player other than MJ to do that and lead his team to a championship. Not LeBron, not Kobe, not Pierce or Allen, not T-Mac...none of those guys can do it without a healthy, dominant big man. Look at the Jazz and Hornets; each win their games late by pounding the ball down low to Boozer or West or by running the pick-and-roll with Boozer or Chandler. West and Chandler and Boozer are the men that dominate for their respected teams; believe me, I know, my Spurs knocked both teams out of the playoffs these last two years because we shut down the interior and forced Paul and Williams to beat us, neither could. Rose will be great, but he will still need a big man with him, which is something the Bulls do not have. Yet the Bulls are loaded with shooters and scorers who will see the floor open up thanks to Beasley. Now explain to me why Mr. Paxson wants Rose so much. This is the problem when GMs listen to the media and other non-informed parties rather than following the knowledge of basketball that got them the job in the first place.
  • Michael Beasley has character issues, so let's take OJ Mayo instead
I will deal with OJ Mayo in a minute, but let's get to these Michael Beasley character issues. This is a man who is accused of having no work ethic and is bad with teammates. If this is the case, then why did we see a marked improvement in this kid as the season progressed? We have seen plenty of kids with no work ethic over the years as Michigan fans, and believe me, you don't get better as the schedule starts seeing conference teams nightly. This kid worked his butt off to help a team that was nowhere near as talented as say, I don't know, some other freshman's team based in Memphis, Tennessee, and he helped them all the way into the NCAA tournament. He did this by being third in the nation in scoring (very rare for a big man in a major conference to do, that's usually great shooter from low-to-mid-major territory; the two players in front of him are Reggie Williams of VMI and Charron Fisher of Niagara) and leading the nation in rebounding. But he also did this while keeping his turnovers per game under 3, his assists per game above 1, and his fouls per game under 3. This man was able to put up nearly 30 points and 12 rebounds a game in the post, yet fouled out only once (the second game of the year against Pittsburg State). How's that for helping his team out? He stayed on the court, kept his turnovers down, and even got an assist per game with teammates not really known for lighting it up. Let's see, OJ Mayo, hmmm...well, he was second in the nation in large cheating scandals that could cripple the program behind him, only behind Kelvin Sampson, so he has that going for him. Let's see, he helped USC to a first round loss in the tournament to...who was it again? Oh yeah, KANSAS STATE and Michael Beasley. He did all of this while scoring less per game than Beasley and having an assist-to-turnover ratio of less than 1. Yeah, and this is the guy that is going to step in and immediately fix your team.
  • OJ Mayo is a great, honest, hard-working individual who is willing to put the team before himself
Let's deal with this one with examples. First, let's go back to OJ's final high school basketball game, when, in his team-first attitude, he threw the ball off the backboard to himself, slammed it home, hung on the rim for a little showmanship points, grabbed the basketball, and launched it Jackie Moon-style into the seats for a fan to keep as a souvenir. All of this happened while the game was still in progress with a minute left. Needless to say, he got a technical foul, but wow, this is one humble man who puts the team first...yeah f***ing right. Next, he puts himself into a huge scandal knowingly, by recruiting himself to a team that was close to an agency in LA that had contacted him and promised him some gifts while in college, to make the experience more enjoyable. Of course, all of this is purely allegations that never happens with the Men of Troy and that exemplary athletic department in SoCal...once again, yeah right. This is the guy that people want to build their teams around, c'mon! Does everybody forget the cautionary tale of another two letter first name "star"? Isaiah "JR" Rider may be retired but we should not forget how me-first athletes are poison both in the locker room and on the court, no matter how talented the player is. I mean, seriously people, didn't we learn our lesson with the last OJ to come out of USC?

So in closing this rant, I just want to point out that, while the Bulls might take Derrick Rose with the number 1 pick on Thursday night, and the Heat might trade down so they can grab Mayo rather than Beasley, this could all result in Kevin McHale, the moron who traded KG to Boston for Al Jefferson and nothing else just to make his former teammates and fan base love him again (he had lost...that loving feeling...whoa, that loving feeling), getting the luck of Beasley dropping in his lap and setting up a frontcourt of Beasley, Jefferson, and insert random athlete/shooter here that will lead the T'Wolves back to the playoffs and possibly further than KG ever took them in all his years in Minny. The League of Ordinary GentleMens continues it's trend of one moron helping another moron keep his least, we have the one year rule to keep these GMs from drowning the league in loser, undeveloped (but POTENTIALLY great) players who for the most part, make the game unbearable to watch, but that is a rant for another day.


Matt Boyer said...

If anything, this would be the year that should have shown a "changing of the guard" (no pun intended). KG wasn't the reason the Celtics won a championship. He disappeared in the Finals and Paul Pierce carried that team the rest of the way. Hence, a deserving Finals MVP. Say what you will about the regular season; when it mattered most, KG disappeared.

Andrew Seid said...

Yeah right, KG didn't disappear, he just was lucky enough to have a SG who was feeling it at the right time and KG, as we all know, provides for his teammates over his own stats more often than not. But my point still stands, PGs don't carry teams to victory, big men do. Magic Johnson only did it once in his career, every other championship saw someone else on the team dominate. What do Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams all have in common? Zero NBA championships

Matt Boyer said...

What about Bird, Magic, and Isiah in the 80's? they weren't big guys. Could be an exception. But give CP3 two years and a dynamite SG and he could make a run.