Monday, July 21, 2014

Newer Blog Switch for My NBA Analysis and Observations, aka Ramblings

This is my original blog that got me writing about the NBA in every aspect of the game and business, from player to coach to GM, from overpaid contracts to draft picks, from regular season analysis to post-season predictions, JoshFarc (aka myself), moved to a different blog a long time ago, registering a domain and trying to create something that was beyond my ability. As a result, I forgot I had this blog and started another blog under the same account.  This was about 2 years ago, so please click and follow if you like what you read or enjoy the other stuff on the site along with it's links:

OCD about the NBA and Laker Hoops...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lakers actual odds and scenarios... Part 1

   The LA Lakers have been a great Franchise for many years, but with the Kobe era looking like an ending sooner than later...  This upcoming seasons roster looks like a Mavericks Franchise team snagging individual talent and prospects from everywhere. Chris Kaman (Mavericks) here. Nick Young (76ers) there. Jordan Farmar (Euroleague stud) back here in purple and gold, and Wes Johnson (Suns). there. With Elias Harris and Marcus Landry (Summer League and D-League) also being signed as decent young players who could possibly learn to contribute. 

   So Young, Hill, Farmar, Harris, Blake, Sacre, and Meeks looking like the bench once Kobe is back, which is soon in terms of the NBA schedule. I consider Nick Young, Jordan Hill, and Jordan Farmar pluses off the bench with their last NBA seasons being each of their best... Except Nick Young who scored 10.6ppg for Philly off the bench mostly in 23.7 minutes of action). He averaged over 18ppg for the Wizards one year and maybe being around Kobe and Pau and Nash will rub off on his shot selection and open looks. 

   I recently saw the Lakers bench rated 27th, out of 30 teams of course. You mean the 4th worse bench in the NBA? That was last season. With a whole different roster. I think there are at least 7-8 teams with less talent off their bench...  Detroits a great starting five with Drummond and Monroe and Josh Smith with Jennings and likely Billups at SG. What's that bench.... Let alone looking at the Bobcats, Nets, Magic, Hawks, Jazz, Suns, and Raptors weak benches this upcoming year. Much different than last year. 

   Isn't Kobe looking healthy and on pace for a October-November comeback? If he can bring a roster of Odom, Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, and Luke Walton team to a playoff team, then he can get a decent to legit roster there again, even at this age. He hasn't failed us yet in terms of competing. That in itself, along with future Hall Of Famer Pau Gasol logging a large portion of his minutes back at Center where he belongs should improve his production as well. Though 14 Ppg, 8 RPG, 3.5 assists a game and a block aren't shabby. I think he'll improve or put up the same but in about 4-6 mpg less. Exactly as Duncan did sliding over from PF to C. 

   But with Kobe starting sooner than later, I have a feeling Wes Johnson will fit that SF spot well with Nash, Kobe, Gasol, and Kaman (all-star level Center, offensive guy, brings a nice starting five. And if Kobe misses 10-15 games, Nick Young is a very capable scorer and back home in LA. That would deplete the bench, and it's possible he starts with Kobe playing Small Forward. All are possible. Gasol could end up the starting Center bringing Kaman off the Bench and Hill starting at Power Forward, strengthening the bench. 
BENCH UNIT(w/Last years numbers and role or skills):

Jordan Hill, (6.7ppg, 5.6rpg, 15.8mpg)
Nick Young (10.1ppg, create own shot))
Jordan Farmar (17, 4 and 6 in Europe)
Steve Blake (3pt specialist)
Jodie Meeks (3pt specialist)
Robert Sacre (High iQ backup Center)
Elias Harris (Stretch four... tBD)
Marcus Landry (3 and D and hustle)

Compared to last years Jamison, Clark, Marcus Morris, That Goudelock guy that shoots every time and rookie Sacre, with Meeks and Blake. Id definitely say they've improved a step, maybe even two. 

Why? Well, Young is a legit Sixth Man of The Year type player in that role if he's happy and has a green light from D'Antoni. He fits very well. Wes Johnson could really fit well too as a more traditional small forward. Jordan Hill was great before his injury (now healthy) and Farmar who I truly believe will surprise many fans and that has me sold. Add in Meeks, Blake, Harris, Sacre, and they are looking like more of a middle of the pack type team... Like 15-20 bench production. Add Kobe will have minute restraints possibly and the bench gets more minutes. We all know Kaman and Gasol will start, but likely will pull Kaman and roll Gasol to Center at the. 6 minute mark to insert a Hill or Young or Farmar (who can guard two guards alright; D'Antoni ran Blake and Nash together a ton. Two guards on the floor has sorta become the norm lately in the NBA.

I think the Lakers are almost getting truly Hated on now for thinking they can make the playoffs. Nobody is saying they are winning the NBA title from the smart Laker fans.

And to World Peace getting amnestied, his 12.5 low PER speaks for itself. His defense was legit but his offense is so bad and out of synch it doesn't outweigh the good on defense. He's not Shane Batter. 

Who thinks the Lakers have slander articles written about them just out of Kobe and Laker hate? Who thinks we aren't being objective? Nobody said we are gonna win the ship. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tracy McGrady Retires

T-Mac w/the Knicks
   It's true. T-Mac, Tracy McGrady, is done with the NBA officially retiring today.  The 6'8'' probable future First Ballot Hall Of Famer, phenomenal career as an individual goes down as one of the best Shooting-Guards and scorers to play the game... period. I just hope his lack of post-season success will always haunt him and give the fans a reason to not vote him into the HOF.  But we forget, T-Mac is a now 34 year old man with no legs, knees, or ankles, and 16 NBA seasons under his belt to boot.  Sure, he still was efficient the last 2 years in limited minutes.  We also forget how amazing he was as a player;  in Toronto, scoring 32.1 points a game in Orlando, and teaming with Yao in Houston to consistent 50+win teams and playoff births, consecutive years running in the mid 2000-2010 decade. One problem was McGrady always put it on himself, especially in Houston with a superstar, Yao Ming, complementing him down low, (along with solid teammates like Scola and Battier), but no matter what it was "all T-Mac's fault" when they failed to win in the first round each year, and he let the press put it on him.  That takes heart.

   The NBA will truly miss T-Mac, whom I consider a very underrated player overall.  People seem to forget just how damn good he was in his 20's.  People also forget he's had a big, long career playing for the Raptors at age 18, coming out of high school to be a lottery pick.  By age 20 he was a solid starter, and at 21 he won most improved player in his first year at Orlando putting up 26+ppg and all around great play, even on the defensive end.  

   He's led the NBA twice in scoring, two consecutive years, with 32.1ppg  in 2003 and 28+ in 2004. How many players have won the scoring title 2 years in a row? Well you can count them on one hand. Blessed as an amazing scorer with boosting athleticism and talent, but he also had a very high basketball IQ and could play both ends of the court.  Not only was he counted on to lead your team consistently every single night, but he could be penciled in for 20+points, 5+assists, 1-2 steals, 1 block, lot's of free throws, 1 or 2 "wow plays", and a chance to win.  James Harden would love to have a career that resembles Tracy's, aside from not winning an NBA Championship that is...

   Seven time All-Star, two time All-NBA 1st Team, three time All-NBA 2nd team, and two time All-NBA 3rd team, and 2001 Most Improved Player of the Year Award.  Throw in 2 time NBA Scoring Champion, and we have ourselves a First Ballot Hall of Famer in our hands. But he never "carried a team to the 2nd round", and I wonder how much that will affect things.

But T-Mac speaks for himself.  Just take a look at his career numbers:  

    -19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.9 blocks              -44%FG, 34%3FG (32.7 minutes)

Not many players have "Career Numbers" like that, and had he gone to college for a year the numbers would be even better. There's not many players that are 6'8'' agile, athletic, high IQ Shooting Guards that can do a bit of everything, including run the point and defend multiple positions as well as play 1, 2 or 3.

For Iphone/SmartPhone's that don't Show the video of T-Mac's career MIX:

   Tracy McGrady should go down as one of the best shooting guards to play the game, a first ballot HOF'er, and should be remembered lastly as a Rocket.  I will miss the years of him lighting up my lLakers for 40 points on opening night!  Good look in China T-Mac!

  His 16 seasons of All-Star level basketball (well maybe 12 seasons) make you a top 50 player of All-Time possibly, it's all up to the fans now. I hope others agree with me. I know there wasn't the "team success" even though there was (just not in getting a ring, but winning consistently he did).

   That winning and getting to the playoffs consistently, along with his career stats and obvious skill and flare watching him the past 16 years we have been spoiled.  The last 16 seasons an influx of amazing shooting-guards like Kobe Bryant; Grant Hill, Jerry Stackhouse, Michael Finley, Ray Allen, Vince Carter, Joe Johnson, Steve Smith, and many others I excluded spoiled us all.

   But if I had to rank their careers, Kobe is first and then T-Mac or RayRay are next on my list as whole careers.

What do you all think?  First Ballot Hall of Famer or not? Speak your mind....

Monday, June 3, 2013

Jason Kidd Retires...

Kidd with Dallas

Jason Kidd with Dallas as a champion in the NBA and in the Olympics....

The one we call Kidd has officially retired.  Yes, another great pass first, all around point guard chose to retire after a beautiful 16+year career and playing a solid final season with the Knicks at the age of 40. Who would of thought (not really) over the hill and playing in the NBA (especially as a guard) is nearly impossible and rarely ever accomplished, ever.   The triple double machine has been gone since he was 37 or so, but his ability to help teams win has shown obvious winning with Dallas and taking the Knicks farther than they have gone in years.
Jason Kidd came out of California and the Pac 10 to only be co Rookie Of The Year with some scrub named Grant Hill, while both were superstars, it’s quite a coincidence they both have just retired.  I smell assistant coaching for both, though Grant Hill is more of the TV broadcasting type, Kidd more the coach. Kidd was a one of a kind Point Guard when he came in the NBA as those Magic Johnson triple doubles were years gone.  But Kidd, a taller, 6’5” PG with a extremely high basketball IQ and great court vision passed the ball like a mini-Magic.
Drafted to Phoenix he was already a 15 point, 10+assist, 5 rebound, 2 steals per game kind of stud.  He’d turned into the best PG in the NBA at the time.  Then he was traded to New Jersey, a great place to be in 2001-2002. In Jersey he had Vince Carter playing next to him in his prime as well as Richard Jefferson the solid athletic forward and Kenyon Martin at his best (post surgery still), but Kidd took this team to the NBA Finals and ECF’s a few times with limited resources in a 5-6 year span.  Never to win it.  His last season in New Jersey, a PG at age 33/34 (considered quite old in NBA years) was playing better ball than ever…. many wondered how he could do it much longer, many thought he just needed to be in the right place surrounded by more talent.
Final year in Jersey: -14 points, 10.5 assists, 1.8 steals, with a much improving 3pt shot
Finally, Mark Cuban of the Mavericks decided to make a bold move trading a young, promising Point-Guard in Devin Harris (who did go to Jersey and become a 22ppg guy for a season only to fall off) along with a ton of other players to trade for Kidd and his massive salary.   The Dallas Mavericks have often been known as the city and team where stars go to die (and age)… but Cuban had a nice plan and built a great team. Kidd’s 3pt shot somehow became far improved, a top 20 3pt shooter in the NBA by percentage, knowing when and what to do.  Kidd kept up his passing and team play, only scored 9 or 10 a game, but with Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, and great shooters to surround them all they were able to go all the way, beating the first year of Miami’s “Big 3 Lebron saga” in the finals with ease.
They were a true team, every player deserved it, especially Kidd and Dirk. Kidd will be in the HOF soon, but likely coaching on the sidelines in his career. 
12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals 
Those are career numbers over a 16(17?) year career.  Had he retired 3 years ago after his title win those numbers would be more like 14ppg and 10apg, but pay no mind to that.  Possibly the best rebounding PG ever (well 2nd to Magic) and simply one of the best pure PG’s to ever play the game.  And while I love and respect Nash, Kidd’s always been a great defender as well, making him a superior player to me (not the same shooter obviously). Jason Kidd might go down underrated if we think about his numbers from the Dallas title team and his 36 year old frame; or even this season at age 40 playing with the Knicks in the playoffs for 15 minutes a game.
If we remember the Kidd that played in Phoenix and showed how great he could become, and then took New Jersey to the finals on his back… to only fail multiple times.  Then adapting his game and style in Dallas knowing he’s not the same specimen physically and can’t put up 20 points when he wants to, but ran the offense and improved that ugly jumper out of college into a 40% 3pt shooter.  Winning the finals was past his prime but he still was the major key, just his IQ and presence.   RIP to the Kidd…  see you coaching on the sidelines soon.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NBA's CBA Settled - What To Expect Now

Only a few days after petitioning "to avoid the NBA entirely" if they don't start playing by the New Year, I boringly awoke this morning to see the NBA and NBPA(Players Union) reaching a tentative settlement on the CBA.  I don't know what else to say other than... "giggidy gig!".  It looks like I was wrong about the season being an epic failure, let's just hope things don't freakishly break down since it's not set in stone yet.

We get to watch children open their presents in the corner of our eyes while a great NBA triple header starts off the season: the Celtics at Knicks, the Bulls at Lakers, and of course the epic rematch of Miami at Dallas.  While it will be opening day and the play won't be at the level of the finals, I'm thinking these teams and players will all surprise us with some solid play and extremely competitive games.  I mean most the players were so angry they're losing games, especially the veterans and younger stars in the leauge.  Kobe is a great example: an aging superstar that will continue to climb the ranks in all-time NBA stats, not just scoring either.  While I'm sure it helped getting some much needed rest, him and the Lakers are going to have to adapt to an entire new style of play under coach Mike Brown, and with a one week training camp most players will be coming out of that camp confused and frustrated (it's going to take a month or so for them to adapt, let alone get back that chemistry they lost entirely last playoffs).  

Overall I'd put my money on it that a 3-4 week span following the tipoff night will prove to be a little up and down in terms of play for the entire league as young and old teams just didn't have the time to prepare. Veteran teams would have the advantage with nearly identical rosters returning as well as coaches, like Doc Rivers and the Celtics, but with a 66 game schedule they are older and definitely going to have to go 10 deep, maybe more, to win their games as they get back into game shape.

This Christmas we are going to get our NBA basketball.  It's the opening day of the 2011-2012 NBA season, a season in which is trying to not be that of the 1999 post lockout season *(the sloppy and out of shape season that was only 50 games).  Instead we have a what appears to be a 66 game season, I like this idea much more, and we will likely see the playoffs pushed a 3-4 weeks back so teams aren't playing 4-5 games a week like that horrific 50 game season.  This should ultimately allow it to feel like a real NBA season, because we all know that 1999 season will always have an asterisk by it and ultimately be dismissed by many of the true fans of the game.

The training camps will start on December 9th, and are only going to be one week (good luck getting in shape Eddy Curry).  The Free Agency will also begin on the same day, something that will be quite interesting considering it's a solid FA class.  While there's no true great players, there's plenty of good players, like (SG/PG) Jamal Crawford, (PF) David West, and of course (C) Tyson Chandler, all good/great players that can truly impact a game in their own respective ways if they choose to sign with a a new team that fits them perfectly, or in Chandler's case remain with the Mavericks assuming Cuban continues to spend like he's always done.  

I'll be writing about the Free Agents in my next post.  As for now, what exactly is different in terms of the NBA's system and rules that the NBA and Players Union were working on reaching an agreement on.  This is all from NBA TV and meaning it's as official as it gets until they actually start to build and write the new CBA and sign it.

The main points that make up the new agreement and CBA:

-Owners dropped their insistence on what would have been known as the Carmelo Anthony rule, preventing teams from executing extend-and-trade deals similar to the one that sent Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks last season.  This means that if Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Chris Paul want to leverage their way out of Orlando, New Jersey and New Orleans, they will still be eligible to sign four-year extensions with their current teams before being immediately traded elsewhere.

-Teams above the salary cap will be able to offer four-year mid-level exception contracts to free agents each season. Previously, owners were asking that teams be limited to offering a four-year deal one year, a three-year deal the next, then four, then three, etc.

-The rookie salary scale and veteran minimum salaries will stay the same as they were last season. Owners had been seeking 12 percent cuts.

-Qualifying offers to restricted free agents will become “significantly” improved. The sides had already agreed to reduce the time for a team to match an offer to a restricted free agent from 7 days to 3.

-A new $2.5 million exception will be available to teams that go below the salary cap, then use all of their cap room to sign free agents. Once they are back above the cap, they will be able to use the new exception instead of being limited to filling out their rosters with players on minimum contracts.

-The prohibition on luxury tax-paying teams from executing sign-and-trade deals was loosened, although the freedom to execute those types of deals will still be limited.

-Revenue sharing will be more robust than ever before. Big-market teams like the Knicks and Lakers will be expected to give more to smaller-market teams.

-Also, teams that dip into luxury-tax territory will face much harsher penalties. Instead of paying a dollar-for-dollar tax, penalties may go as high as three or four times that much. The James Dolans and Jim Busses of the world will certainly think twice before reaching into their pocketbooks.

-As a result of these changes, the spending gap should, in theory, shrink with owners also being forced to eventually spend 85-plus percent of the salary cap.

-The agreement on the table is supposed to last a decade, but both sides can opt out after six years. While we may very well go through this whole charade again in 2018, we at least have NBA games on the horizon.

I really love the newly implemented "owners forced to eventually spend 85+ percent of the salary cap" rule.  What will cheapass Clippers owner Sterling do now?  

Some Clipper speculation:  I don't think he's ever spent more than 70% of the cap in any given season, and that's being generous.  It's a great rule for them though, as they have a franchise player and reigning Rookie Of The Year and highlight sensation Blake Griffin, as well as a legit second option in young shooting-guard Eric Gordon who is an underrated star; most don't see him as a star... it's the "Clipper Curse".  I have a feeling Kaman will be their starting center to begin the season, possibly to showcase him as a great trade piece if they don't sign a free agent to fill the SF spot. Their future starting five, which small-forward fits the best? Their starting 4, with Kaman and DeAndre likely splitting minutes at Center, plus Kaman can actually play some PF next to DeAndre while Griffin get's his rest.


Future SF:

When you have a franchise stud, a legit second scoring option, as well as a one-time All-Star 20/10 center in Chris Kaman healthy now, as well as likely re-signing the young and upcoming center DeAndre Jordan, who's defensive mindset, great shot-blocking skills as well as amazing athletic ability for a 7 footer (was 3rd in the NBA in dunks behind his front-court mate Griffin who was just behind Dwight Howard).  You have a great core, and a nice point-guard that is used to playing next to and off of a star in Mo Williams.  It's time for them to sign a Small Forward and they should be playoff team for sure: with Grant Hill, Tayshaun Prince, and Shane Battier looking like plausible and unrestricted free-agents, Sterling not only should do this, he almost has to since he's not near the 85%+ cap space mark.  Sterling would usually just stick with the roster, and while there's nothing wrong with that, Aminu, the young SF that shows great potential appears to be a couple years away from being that SF that makes the Clipps the best they can be, needing a great defender to complement Griffin defensive weaknesses while also a guy (like Battier) that can shoot 3's at SF efficiently, especially catch-n-shoot 3's that will always be there because of Griffin's ability to draw doubles and kick it out to the open guy.

Alright, I'll stop for now.  I guess I'm actually excited for this upcoming season, it's starting to sink in they actually made an agreement.  I hope all you fans are willing to forgive them for taking so long to get this deal done, but they did it and salvaged themselves in my mind.  Thank God almighty! AMEN!

I'd like to say a sincere farewell to Mr. Yao Ming.  He deserves a full article to discuss what he's done for the game on a global scale.  Free Agent lists and discussion will soon be posted as I can finally start to ponder realistically on where some of the free-agents, restricted and unrestricted, end up signing. 

I'm back in my comfort zone.  So for you 5 avid readers, please feel free to comment and discuss what you think about the new rules and CBA; is it a step forward for parity in the league or does it seem like not much has changed?

-One Love

Saturday, October 29, 2011

NBA's Blake Griffin a lot like Dwight Howard

No not their faces. For their eerily similar physical builds and freakish athleticism.

     Why don't we hear "All Dwight Howard does is dunk"? Well, in that defense, (no pun intended) Howard is the best defensive "big-man" in the game, period. Dwight is one of the top 2 rebounders in the league (Kevin Love competition) averaging 14.0 boards per game (compared to Griffin's 12.1 per game). This is what Howard can do and does best in the entire league: anchor's the defense and blocks/alters shots better than anyone in the entire NBA, thus his current third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year Award a portrait of his impact on the game defensively. Offensively speaking, in his 7th, hopefully (this year) to be 8th season in the NBA at age 26 he is far behind Griffin even in many aspects overall.  Both players, though, are Franchise Tag players, and will be leading teams to the Playoffs and more depending on whatever happens with the team that's put around them.

I am just curious why the internet's sports population aren't claiming "Howard only dunks"? Especially after 7 seasons averaging a consistently poor 60% or lower percentage from the free throw line, which ultimately allows the "hack a Shaq" style defense go to work.  Griffin also shot a poor 64% from line, though he slowly improved his percentage (gradually and minimally) as the season progressed. This is a large reason why Dwight and Griffin average a high amount of free throw attempts each game (14.0 Rpg Howard / 12.1 Rpg Griffin).  Though offensively Griffin is much more versatile and explosive offensively all around ( 3.9 assists per game for Griffin compared to Howard's 1.9 assists), Griffin is able to quickly make a move and finish while drawing the foul, leading to as many "and 1's" as anyone in the league, including Mr. Howard, who is one of the best big-men at doing this. 

Am I the only one that finds it eerily similar, no, not just their physical greatness with a mature outlook at young ages, just slightly eerie both guys are in the mid to lower 60 percentile from the line (64% Griffin / 59% Howard last season), and both guys shot some of the most free-throw attempts per game. After only his rookie campaign, I project Griffin becomes a 70 percentile shooter at the line next season.  It only seems the trent with the way his numbers, along with his work ethic, improved and increased each month during the season.  But all around physically these guys are very similar (6'10" 251lb Griffin / 6'11'' 250lb Howard). It's amazing how identical they are physically and yet the very different style of play each play has on the court.  Both in their efficient and impacting manner.  

Without a doubt, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard could be twins physically, yet are polar opposites on the court, and while Howard has the definite edge right now Griffin has become a "Franchise Player", we just can't be sure exactly what Griffin becomes, or if he hovers around the same numbers, or even fluctuates in certain stats is very possibly.  Howard has for 4 seasons straight been a legit 20 Ppg and 13+Rpg with 2.5 blocks a game Center, carrying his team to the playoffs, and in 2009 they went to the NBA Finals, though the Lakers pretty much ate them up.  Howard has carried his teams for a few years now, with Gilbert Arenas being traded for Rashard Lewis and then Hedo Turkoglu coming back after his stint with the Magic and a big part of their 2009 Finals run.  Personally, I feel that they could have done better with their roster, considering their payrolls, though Shard's $20 million a year deal is tough to trade when he hasn't been the same player since his days with the Sonics.  The Magic will continue Playoff dominance as long as Dwight is there, but if they can add a piece, via trade or free-agency, they could make an impact.  Dwight, compared to say Shaq, has never had a Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant playing alongside himself.  Of course recent rumor of Dwight leaving stay possible, understanding he wants to have that "great scorer" next to him.

For now, Blake Griffin has Eric Gordon as his "Dwayne or Kobe".  Gordon is coming off a career year, though it was an injury riddle season, he managed to play 55 games and average 22.3 points (Averaged 25 Ppg before injury), and they did manage to finish the season at 31-36 (nearly .500) after starting the season 1-14 without All-Star Center Chris Kaman and while Clippers Point-Guard, Baron Davis, ended up being traded for Cleveland's Mo Williams.  I'd love to note that with "clipper'esque karma" the Clippers ended up trading their first round pick in the deal that got them a younger Point-Guard (much cheaper too ultimately) who fit's in pretty well.  But hey, as I like to say: "THEY GOT CLIPPED".  That 9th pick ended up being the 1st pick in the lottery.  They could of kept Baron, along with his gigantic contract, and drafted Kyrie Irving to be their starting Point-Guard... right?  But would "the NBA Lottery" have ended up the same had that trade never happened? 

Ironic? Or simply "clipper'esque karma".  As for Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin, I wouldn't be surprised if they met in the NBA finals sometime in the next 10 years.  Both will be top 5 type of players (assuming no major injuries occur), and both will be so similar, yet different, in their domination during games.

-Los Angeles Clippers: Their future looks bright.  With DeAndre Jordan also coming along just great playing at Center next to Blake Griffin (Power Forward) adds to what looks like a NBA Playoff bound team, possibly more considering Chris Kaman is back, a proven 18 Ppg/ 10 Rpg / 2 Bpg Center with the Clippers when healthy.  In 2009-2010 he was an All-Star who averaged 19+Ppg, 9+Rpg, 1.5 Bpg for the Clippers, and showed he complemented Blake Griffin well, along with DeAndre Jordan playing legit minutes at Center for them. Kaman can play the 11+Mpg next to Jordan as a Power Forward, seeing that Griffin plays the usual 37 minutes per game. Next season, whenever that is, Kaman could play a great starting Center for the Clippers, playing around 30 minutes a game allowing DeAndre Jordan to still play his impactful 24-30 minutes a game (it all works with Griffin's 37 minutes a game).  If Eric Gordon can stay healthy and continue doing what he did last season, they have a great chance... and who knows, Aminu could become a solid Small Forward (I'm thinking Trevor Ariza but more explosive), or Kaman could become a great trade piece for them to get that gaping hole at the SF spot.

LA Clipper Future Rotation:

PG: Mo Williams / Drew Bledsoe / Willie Warren
SG: Eric Gordon / Randy Foye
SF: Al-Farouq Aminu / Jamario Moon / Ryan Gomes
PF: Blake Griffin / Ike Diogu / Craig Smith / Brian Cook

C : Chris Kaman / DeAndre Jordan

LA Clipper Future season:  I'd say they're Playoff Bound as long as they stay healthy, and Kaman looks like a great complement C playing next to Griffin; though DeAndre Jordan does fit the bill and will also play great again this season leading the league in blocks and dunks (he's a great and explosive athlete and future great anchor to a team's defense) he does his thing in 24-30 minutes a game, allowing for a great big-man rotation with one Franchise player in Griffin and another All-Star Center in Kaman, and a growing defensive Center Jordan.  It also gives the Clipper's a great chance to use Kaman as a trade chip to get that much needed Small Forward (gaping hole at that position).  Imagine, he's actually an Unrestricted Free Agent: Shane Battier.  While he may have aged, he's that perfect savvy veteran Small Forward that fits the spot perfectly: he's still one of the top 5-10 perimeter defenders in the NBA, and he's a consistent 40%3ptFG, the perfect type of player that would make this Clipper team a serious player.

-Orlando Magic: They have a solid roster (and a very high roster payroll, thanks in part to Gilbert Arenas), and Dwight will continue getting them to the Playoffs, but he need's a sidekick come playoff time, unless he can increase his scoring output another 4+Ppg like he did last season.  Jameer Nelson is what I call a "Great 2nd Tier PG" as in he is a good 3pt shooter, a legit mid-range and layup/floater threat, but lacks the ability to see the court like the best Point-Guards in the NBA.  Gilbert Arenas was one of those Point-Guards that lead his team to the playoffs on 29+Ppg scoring (that was his prime of course, and now he's 30 years with the injuries that plagued him the past few years hopefully behind him). Hedo provides a veteran presence that can do a little of everything and help initiate the offense (I do mean "little"), though he is a great clutch time performer as well.  They have nice pieces, but Dwight definitely wants that "scorer" on his team soon, thus all the trade rumors (and possibility he leaves for the Knicks or Nets or Lakers, etc). 

Orlando Magic future Rotation:

PG: Jameer Nelson / Gilbert Arenas / Chris Duhon
SG: Jason Richardson / J.J. Reddick
SF: Hedo Turkoglu / Quentin Richardson / Earl Clark (China?)
PF: Brandon Bass / 
Ryan Anderson / Malik Allen
C : Dwight Howard / Daniel Orton

Orlando Magic Future Season: Definitely another Playoff Bound season... anymore will depend on likely trades or vast improvement by an individual player like Arenas. If they end up making a move and somehow getting that scorer I can see them easily becoming a "Contender".  Otherwise, I see another great season by Howard and company, a DPOY/MVP nominee at the least, and a playoff season where they go 1 or 2 series.  There's also that off chance Howard is traded, as speculated, as the Magic will want to get something in return for him, rather than lose him to the 2012 Free Agency, assuming a new CBA is met and a season goes on. 

Here's a nice mix of the two players done my someone on YouTube.... players are identical physically...


I just want to say this to all the Twitter fans and fans:

"All Blake Griffin does is dunk".  

I've heard and read that statement nearly every other post sometimes.  

It's such a misinformed statement, and while it initially causes me to giggle at the stupidity of the poster, after seeing so many different people say the same basic thing, well, I realized that maybe people are just misinformed.  Many seem to be making judgments on Griffin simply by the youtube mixes and Sportscenter highlights he was steadily on during the season.  ESPN and Sportscenter have the top 10 plays daily, so of course Griffin's amazingly spectacular dunks that seemed so new and unique each time were consistently on the highlights.

If you say "Blake Griffin only dunks" you're simply proving a couple things: 
1- You are a homer that only watched highlights on sportscenter and youtube
2- You don't appreciate or understand that IN-GAME DUNKS are the highest percentage shots in the game. 

3- I wish you'd say "he sucks because all he does is not settle for bad, quick shots and instead he attacks the rim with his insane ability to do so, for easier, high percentage dunks and layups". 

                                                                                                            -Josh Farcone (aka JoshFarc)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm Back! Too bad the NBA isn't...

Goodbye  You were a truly EPIC FAIL...


     Trying to launch a basketball related site while the NBA goes into a lockout was the end of that.  Maybe I'll give it another shot, but for now I still feel the need to write, blog, rant, and have my voice heard by the 3 readers of this site!  As the NBA lockout continues I'll be writing about everything there is related to basketball.  This won't be a source for the constant "updates on the CBA talks and lockout updates", though I might have the occasional blog discussing it.

     Instead, as of now, I'll be writing about things of the past related to the NBA, things of the future, as well as how players are doing over in Europe (like American born Deron Williams playing in Turkey for team/franchise Besiktas as well as Russian born, previous Euroleague stud as a young-man turned NBA star Andrei Kirilenko playing back in the league he came from).  Watching NBA players try to adapt to the Euroleague, as well as the other leagues around the world, is quite an interesting concept most of us hardcore NBA fans never really imagined happening.

     Watching a top 5 NBA Point-Guard like Deron Williams put up 11 points and 5 assists in 23 minutes while he lead his team to a huge 30+point win seemed fitting considering the other team couldn't match the talent level of D-Will, let alone guard the gigantic PG (especially for Europe) at 6'4''+ in shoes as well as his big frame of 215 pounds.  Combine that with his deceiving athleticism and speed, his ability to shoot the ball consistently well out to 23-24 feet, but also his high IQ for the game, and I don't think Besiktas should lose a single game with him there. (I'll be writing about him more).

    Now that we know the first 2 weeks of the season have already been cancelled many of the "common fans" of the NBA are already so disinterested they no longer have the NBA in their thoughts.  Damn, I wish I didn't have this obsession for the game, but the CBA and lockout does have some interesting components.

     I mean come on, who doesn't love watching millionaire players/reps argue with the billionaire NBA owners and commissioner? That damn Stern wanting "parity" in the NBA. Damn him for wanting the league to be more fair in terms of giving the small market teams a better chance to compete in terms of signing Free Agents and trying to keep the NBA from turning into the MLB (with no hard cap or even luxury tax), allowing the NY Yankees to have a $160 billion dollar payroll these days and consistently signing most of the big-time free agents.  On the other side, of course, are the players who are the ones that truly "run the league".  They are the ones we go and watch, and they are sticking with that fact to an extreme it seems, barely budging in negotiations (though they have agreed to take a hit already and I'm not saying they are wrong or right in what they're doing).

     To be honest, none of us truly know what's happening in the lockout negotiations.  All we do is form our opinions about it based on what the owners and NBA upper's, along with Stern, say and what the players and player reps say.  All fed through media outlets. Seeing that we aren't stupid, it's easy to see that both sides are very extreme in what they say about the other side, and surprisingly (not at all actually) both sides are lying to the news and fans about what is actually going on.

If you aren't in the meetings you won't have an actual basis to discuss what's going on.  This is why I will not be blogging updates on the negotiations daily, nor will I be calling either the owners or players greedy or power hungry.  Wait a sec, strike that, right now I will call both the players and the owners power hungry... hah.

But in good faith let's just hope there is a season; even if it's 50 games.  For the sake of the fans and all the people losing jobs/money (talking to the lower/middle class citizens that work at arenas and restaurants and other businesses located closely to or around the 30 NBA team's arenas; businesses that depend on 41 home games a season for a partial (or even majority) part of their profits.  Then of course for the sake of the players and the league in general.

Let us hope for an NBA season this year!

For now, favorite this amazing blog so you can visit it daily and witness the miraculous phenomena known as "JoshFarc's Genius Blog".  And while I hope you realize I'm being extremely sarcastic (about the genius, not about bookmarking this site as a favorite...), if my writing doesn't make you want to come back, maybe this awesome video will...

     One love my people. Bookmark this site damnit! Also, I do all my forum discussion at HoopsHype Forum. So if you want to talk hoops in a pretty active forum (considering there is an NBA lockout and all basketball sites are taking a big hit), make your voice heard!  There's a link to the forum at the top of the page. I am also "JoshFarc" on the forum.

See all 3 of my loyal readers tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - Joshua E. Farcone is Officially Writing for HoopsHardcore Now

This is my archive from the past 3 years or so.... the time in which I became a hardcore fan of the NBA (though I've always been a fan; I just didn't watch over 1,000 regular season games each year while I was in school, and not many people do),  The NBA has changed tremendously since I started watching Magic's "Showtime" Lakers battle the Celtics as a child.  The 90's brought an era of tough, rough basketball where any teen that wasn't a Bulls fan just wasn't "cool" like I was, wearing my number 33 Bulls pinstripe jersey (that's right, a Scottie fan).  Then the 2000's came along.

The NBA is first off a business let's not forget, so obviously they need to make some profit to stay alive.  But Stern and company have kept this league afloat for years, and are actually bringing this league more views and fans.  While many rule changes have been applied the past decade, the now plays as exciting as ever.  While MJ talks about the leagues rules changing and how he "could score 100 points in a game" is probably true (if he was in Kobe's spot that year w/Smush + Kwame + Walton against the Raptors), I happen to think this style of play is better suited for the game, overall.

While FIBA is adapting to some of the NBA's rules (changing their angled free-throw/paint/box to the NBA's normal one), the NBA seems like it has taken some of the rules overseas and brought them over here.  Especially after Mike D'Antoni brought his "7 seconds or less" offense to the America's and NBA.  With no hand-checking on the perimeter when the offensive player is faced up is post MJ era, as well as the obvious "defensive 3 seconds".

While defensive 3 seconds is obviously a way to allow guards and other slashers to get to the rim easier, the players have mastered "team defense" so well that they often never miss a rotation and have shown you can really force teams into jumpers with great defense, while defensive 3 seconds still exists (ex: Boston 2007-08).  The rule does also appear to help prolong the lifespan of the NBA career of many guards and wings it seems.  While at heart I wish they would follow FIBA and delete the defensive 3 rule, overall it's not doing that much damage.  We want to see star guards and forwards, like Kevin Durant for example, stay healthy the next 10+ years.  We don't want him getting hacked and beat up every single time he drives to the hoop..... or do we?  

Anyway, as I have written, on and off, off and on, like a streaky shooter, some of the articles here are intriguing, others actually quite funny. Here are some of my favorites from the past:

"Free Agent BonAnZa (2010 Summer)" -2010

"Lakers Vs Celtics (Finals 2010) - Articles (4)" -2010
"Lakers Vs Suns (WCF 2010) - Are We Looking Over Something?"-2010

"Blast from the past - ZBO to Memphis" -2010

"Contract INCENTIVES: The Secret" -2009

"Ramon Sessions: The Session's Finally Over, Right?" -2009

"Brandon Roy On The Rise" -2008

"Utah's Future: Boozer or Millsap" -2008

"The Ref That Hid His Whistle" -2008
There are plenty of other great articles here!  Remember this place!