General Sports

The NBA Offseason – A True Crime Story

Mister Payne gives his thoughts on the early summer NBA moves.  Topics discussed include:

The Lakers

Tracy McGrady

Carlos Boozer

The Nuggets

Payne’s Power RankingsYou Be The Judge
July 17, 2004
Random Thoughts

The NBA Offseason – A True Crime Story

What a season!  I’m not talking about the current MLB season, or the 2003-2004 NBA season.  I am talking about the NBA offseason 2004.  Every since Detroit hoisted the championship trophy, there has been nothing but excitement in this league.  The Lakers situation, T-Mac’s future, the Draft, and more.  You know me; I always have an opinion.  I have picked out a few things to vent about, and here they go:

1. As The Lakers Turn

The world has officially come to an end… hasn’t it?  Is this true?  Has Shaq been traded to the Miami Heat?  How could the Lakers trade the best player in the league for anything less than 2 top 15 players?  This game of basketball has always been played inside out.  I have said that before, and I continue to maintain that to be the truth.  A dominant big-man is hard to find.  A center who could be considered to be the very best ever is even harder to find.  You simply can’t replace Shaquille O’Neal.  A trade like this will be felt for at least 3 years.  O’Neal at the very least is one of the 5 best centers of all-time (Russell, Chamberlain, Jabbar, Olajuwon being the other four).  The other 4 were always at the very least sniffing the title year in and year out

That’s what Shaq brought to Los Angeles, you could at least count on being in the hunt.  That’s important in today’s NBA.  Anything can happen in a 7 or 5 game series, if you are in the playoffs and you are a top 5 team in your conference, you have a chance.  After trading Shaq, the Lakers are now rebuilding “on the run.”  This is a team that went to 4 Finals in 5 years.  O’Neal is unwilling to say it, but Kobe should be careful what he wishes for.  Mr. Bryant is under the illusion that the grass is greener without the Diesel, but it isn’t.  For the next three years Miami will be in the Eastern Conference or NBA Finals, while the Lakers will be in the bottom half of the playoff seeding in the West at best.

We won’t even get into the whole Phil Jackson mess.  I think Phil is overrated, but he did do a damn good job, and he is the best coach of my generation.  My mind is still boggled over the fact that Kobe is able to get rid of the best coach in the league and the best player in the league all in the span of one month.  This is unreal.  Did you see Bryant’s performance against the Pistons?  He is NOT MICHAEL JORDAN!!  The Lakers obviously think that he is, and thus they will pay for it in the future.  These were really bad moves For The Lakers this offseason.

2. T-Mac Wants Out

Yao and Tracy make the Rockets at worst the 5th best team in the Western Conference.  They only need a point guard to make this mission complete.  Tracy was sick of tired of carrying a franchise on his back while be played for Orlando.  Yao got even better last year and is projected to flat out breakout this season.  If Tracy averages 28 points and Ming chips in with 23 points per game, it wouldn’t matter who the point guard was, Houston would be very tough to deal with.  It will be interesting to see just how Jeff VanGundy will handle these two and the rest of the team for that matter.  Will he still want to grind it out, or will he open up the offense a little bit more, now that he has a true dominant wing player?

3. K-Mart Shifts The Power

One of the reasons why it is going to be so tough for the Lakers to crack the top 5 in the West this season is because of a team like the Denver Nuggets.  The Nuggets added Kenyon Martin to a roster that includes Marcus Camby, Nene Hilario, Andre Miller, and of course Carmello Anthony.  This team has 4 bonafide big monsters when most teams don’t even have one (see Atlanta, Seattle, etc.), and in the West that could be key.  I put the Nuggets at number 3 on my Summer Power Rankings List because of this move.  There are so many line-up possibilities!  Melo’ could be playing at the 2 with Martin at the 3, Nene at the 4, and Camby in the hole at center.  WOW!  That is a block party waiting to happen, not to mention all rebounds would belong to the Nuggets.  Mr. Vandeweigh has done a great job putting this team together, now let’s just hope that this team lives up to the hype.

4. The Cavs drank too much Boozer…

Get off of my man Carlos.  Sports Franchises get away with doing things like this all of the time.  “We are not going to trade Joe Blow, he is too important to our organization to do such a thing.”  A day later, that same player is swapped for what the GM feels are better and younger players.  If Boozer puts up the same numbers or better this upcoming season, he’ll be worth every singe dime.  He’s unselfish, willing to get rebounds and play defense and nothing else if need be.  That has become rare in today’s game.  I see him as the next Buck Williams, which is nothing to sneeze at.  Utah also becomes a major player in the West with their new and improved team.  All around great move by Boozer.  Stupid move by the Cavs to let him become a restricted free agent in the first place.

NBA Power Rankings (so far)

1.Detroit Pistons

2.San Antonio Spurs

3.Minnesota Timberwolves

4.Sacramento Kings

5.Miami Heat

6.Houston Rockets

7.Denver Nuggets

8.Indiana Pacers

9.Dallas Mavericks

10.Utah Jazz

**the rankings are subject to change based on the changes that will be made for the rest of the summer and fall leading up to the start of the season.

Thanks for reading.  Email me at [email protected]. Thanks again!!

3 replies on “The NBA Offseason – A True Crime Story”

Power Rankings I believe the Heat are ranked a little too high. They are probably the 3rd best team in the East and thats not including the whole West. They may have Shaq, and Wade but after that they dont have much. i dont see how Indiana is so low raked, they should be 5 or 6 at least. The Rockets also need to be higher on the list. Around #4 is about right. The Kings should be lower, there time to shine is over. Nad u forgot someone, the Lakers. Any team w/ Kobe on it is a contender.

My power ranks:

Power Rankings Response The Pacers made a bad trade with Atlanta involving Stephan Jackson and Al Harrington, plus they have no point guard, and Reggie Miller is still a starter when he is at best a 8th man in the rotation.  The Rockets will need a full year before they are ready to be a top 3 team.  The Rockets can’t be ranked ahead of the Timberwolves, c’mon.

Kobe doesn’t play TEAM basketball.  Shaq will be greatly missed in LA.  The Heat have Shaq, Wade, and Eddie Jones.  Jones will get many more open looks with Shaq there.  Look at Jones’ stats, he is a better player than people give him credit for.  These rankings are subject to change later this summer.

Re: Power Rankings Yes the Rockets can. You look at wat the T-Wolves actually have. An aging point guard, an aging shooter and one MVP. Good team but not top 3 material.

Kobe may not play team Bball but any team w/ an elite superstar on it has to be considered a threat, cmon, i didnt rank them top 3 did i? Yes, Jones is a decent player but wat else after shaq, Wade, and Jones, NOTHIN!!!

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