Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Offseason Off-Table, 7.8.08: Cats and Dogs, Living Together ... MASS HYSTERIA!

Your bi-weekly checkup on the offseason, featuring news, notes, opinions, rantings, and the all important Offseason Daily Survival Guide...

Brand's a Sixer!

Maggette's a Warrior!

Pietrus is with the Magic!


Okay, let's break this down, bit by bit.

Sixers Get Brand.

Well, then. Guess somebody wasn't so crazy after all! I showed you! I showed you all!

(Okay, I didn't think anything of it either, and it probably had nothing to do with this. But still.)

I doubted the Sixers all of last season. It wasn't that I didn't think they were good. They were. I just didn't think they were anything legitimate. When they offed the Pistons in Game 1 and put up a fight in that series, I thought it said more about the Pistons' lack of focus than the Sixers' emergence, though I was impressed with Andre Miller and Louis Williams. Now? Now I'm impressed. The way it looks to me is this.

Brand is the central part, the Floating Island. The rest of the crew? A series of flying daggers capable of shredding anything that it comes across. Andre Miller is probably going to benefit the most from this. After being considered trade bait, now he's the focal offensive backcourt weapon, with Brand to work out of the post with, and to lob to. Iguodala will continue to be what I consider an abject disaster for a team, because he's too good not to pay, too good not to play, but not a premier player. But now, he no longer has to be the guy. He's got a leader, a huge weapon, a stable offensive juggernaut, and he can simply tear up teams that don't pay attention to him. This is the perfect situation for those two. Dalembert no longer has to work the post as the primary low-post option, and can rebound and follow up on Brand's work with put-back dunks. Which is scary. Thaddeus Young gets to freelance, which is best for his game. That's actually the biggest component of this.

The Sixers were held together last season by an unstructured, unstable blueprint for them to rein in their instincts so that they could get essentials down. Brand changes all that. He provides scoring, defense, leadership, and a focal point. So the rest of Philly's athleticism can freelance more. They cant take chances. And with their defensive acumen, this team will be downright tough to beat once it gels. They have strength at every position, can rebound, defend, and attack in transition. This team is instantly the fourth best team in the East, possibly the third.

For the Clippers, this is an unmitigated disaster. Every time they start to put things together, something like this happens. You can forget about my "8th seed" prediction now. I've got vague, unsubstantial whispers of Baron backing out of his deal, but that's severely unlikely after everything that's happened. So now it's what? Davis, Gordon, Thornton, Nick Fazekas and Kaman? Ugh. This team has to make a max offer to Josh Smith. Right now. For however many years he wants. If he wants a virgin sacrifice, you get him a virgin sacrifice. That's what's insane. The Warriors went from contender to disaster in four days, the Clippers went from joke to contender in two days, and back to joke in another two, and a Smith signing could make them contenders in 12 hours. Welcome to the new NBA.
Warriors Get Maggette.


You remember the Warriors, don't you folks? The real Warriors? The ones that can't do anything right, and constantly fudge every opportunity they have for progress. You may have gotten used to the new Warriors, who were competitive, knocked off the Mavericks in the first round, and were fearsome, fearless, and could topple anyone. That team is gone now.

So after losing Baron, their leader, their icon, they now have Monta Ellis still out there, vulnerable, and now they get Corey Maggette, who helps them in absolutely no area of concern. That's a pretty fast disintegration. If I'm Monta Ellis, I'm bolting. As fast as humanly possible. Brandan Wright better be fantastic. I mean really, really fantastic. At this point, if you're the Dubs, you have to start over. You've inked Maggette, which means you can't afford to pursue Smith. So you have to abandon your current plan and start over, try and make the big signing for 2009. That's your only option. Sell Harrington for $.50/$1.00, clear some cap space, and start over. You're sunk. We weren't ready to bury the Warriors a few days ago, but man, do things look bad now.
Pietrus to Magic.

Hey! Otis Smith did something! Neat!

Pietrus is a nice fit here. The big concern whenever I consider the Magic is that Hedo's not necessarily a 2 or a 3, but somewhere in the middle, and Rashard isn't necessarily a 3 or a 4, but somewhere in the middle. Pietrus gives them a defensive 2/3 they can run off the bench in tandem with Courtney Lee, or with the starters to push Hedo to the 2 and Lewis to the 4. He creates a mid-rotation anchor to solidify roles. Would it have been better if they had a legit power forward? Yes. But baby steps. There's talk over at 3QC about Reddick being traded so I'll throw this out again. Reddick, Cook, and a pick or two for Hakim Warrick and Lowry (Updated!).Grizz get more expirings, a 2 guard prospect that can shoot, and draft picks. Magic get a legit option at the 4 who can score, defend, and rebound. I'm still stunned this has not happened yet. Wait,it's a sensible trade in the NBA. Of course it hasn't happened yet.
For Summer League Notes, check Ridiculous Upside.

As often as possible, we'll try and present you with something to do during the horrendous offseason to tide you over till November.

Your Offseason Guide To Survival for Wednesday, July 9th, 2008:

Create Your Own Ninja Warrior Training Set In Your Backyard!

When I was in the doldrums of post-Finals NBA-void, the Paroxi-Wife and I went to visit the Paroxi-Brother-In-Law. And on his DVR he had about a zillion episodes of something called Ninja Warrior. And it is, quite simply the greatest television show ever created. It's one of those Japanese gameshows with contestants ending up in water, but it's actually physically taxing. And incredibly hard. Building a set in your backyard will give you a good sense of what training with Kobe Bryant must be like. Or, being a Clippers fan. Both are incredibly difficult. Enjoy.

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