Pick an NBA team for me...

OK, since Kentucky is producing future NBA players again, I’m going to have to start caring about the NBA. The last time I watched an NBA game from start to finish, it ended with Jordan breaking Bryon Russell off at the ankles, so it’s been a while.

Here’s what I need in a team:

  1. A chance to see them on television fairly often. I live in Lexington, so there’s no one really close (and therefore on television often.)

  2. Some defense. I know (and am irritated by) no one in the NBA plays defense until the last five minutes of the game before the playoffs, but I’d like to see someone at least pretend.

  3. If possible, a Kentucky player on the roster. Right now, that pretty much limits me to the Warriors, Pistons, Sixers, Celtics and wherever Keith Bogans is playing, but it’s not a deal-breaker yet. With three lottery picks wearing blue and white this year, the field is going to expand.

  4. No “lovable losers” who haven’t been good in forever. I’m already a Cincinnati Bengals fan.

So, make your recommendations.

  1. The Lakers, Thunder, Celtics, or the teams that Lebron and DWade play for next year.

  2. This is determined by personnel and coaching philosophy, and both will change over time. Presumably, you’re choosing a team for life. I would recommend removing this criterion. Plus, all teams try to play defense. But the good teams play it well.

  3. The Nets have the best shot at landing Wall.

  4. Scratch the Nets.

I think the team that best fits your criteria is the Celtics with Rondo (an under-rated stud of a PG, btw)

Well, I’m a Sixers fan but I won’t even bother with that black hole and Meeks isn’t going to be worth everything else you’d have to put up with. I’ll try to come at this from a neutral perspective, but first:

I hear this constantly and honestly just don’t understand it. The defense in the NBA is with limited exceptions pretty freaking intense. It seems very strange to me that somebody who follows college basketball really closely wouldn’t think anything of the fact that great college scorers go to the NBA by the dozens and aren’t worth shit. Golden State doesn’t play any defense, the Suns have terrible defensive players, the Clippers and a couple of others are a bunch of lazy bastards in general, but I really believe that the good NBA teams also play very good defense. I’m not sure how to go about arguing the point, though, so maybe you could tell me why that’s been your impression?

Anyway, Rondo is absolutely an answer that jumps right out. The Celtics don’t defend quite the way they did a couple of years ago, but they’re still pretty tough, and Rondo is finally starting to get treated like the unorthodox superstar he kind of is. But I can’t recommend the Celtics too highly – see paragraph 1.

However, you have forgotten Mr. Chuck Hayes, and so allow me to draw your attention to the Houston Rockets. Hayes is a major contributor, so big points for that, and even moreso maybe because of the way he plays. They’re currently out of the playoffs but they’re over .500 and they just turned McGrady into Kevin Martin, so that’s a big deal. They’re on the cutting edge of NBA statistical analysis so they have a bunch of weird unorthodox ways of building a roster and managing lineups and things. As a result, since they want to find the players who are undervalued by the rest of the league, they defend well and do all the little nitty-gritty things.

Downside: because of that bit about the nitty-gritty, say hello again to Shane Battier.

The Celtics might be the most logical choice with Rondo, their generally high profile and frequent TV appearances, but they do have one big issue: They seem to be working very hard to become the least likable team in the NBA. They are basically WWE heels. Rondo is pretty much a complete prick and has shown moments as a dirty player. Garnett’s mugging, yelling and trash talking has gone from competitiveness to mock-worthy insanity, especially now that he’s creeping towards being washed up. Speaking of insanity, they have Rasheed Wallace and Nate Robinson on the team. If you enjoy technical fouls they might be for you. As a team they collectively whine about officiating more than any other. Even the role players like Perkins, Davis and Scalbrine have gotten a little full of themselves following the Championship.

You might as well wait until the NBA draft and just wait and see where Wall goes. There’s a pretty good chance that he’ll end up on Memphis or Indiana, two very close teams. Alternatively you could wait until the 2010 Free Agency bonanza gets over and pick the team that puts together the most interesting super team. The Bulls might feature Derrick Rose and some combination of LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Johnson and Amare. The Knicks could have LeBron and someone else from that group in addition to Wall if they get real lucky. Miami could be interesting, but I can’t imagine being a fan of a team that good that can’t sell out playoff games. Washington is another team that’ll probably be making a splash in free agency and could land Wall too, but you’d be stuck watching Gilbert Areneas for the foreseeable future.

Just chiming in to agree with Jimmy Chitwood. I hear constantly that “there’s no defense in the NBA,” but this simply isn’t true. Defenses are much tighter and much more complicated in the NBA than in college.

Doc Rivers and Mario chalmers address this complaint here:


It’s not that I think there’s absolutely no defense. Obviously, they have to be playing a little or else it would look like the All-Star Game every night.

However, catching a random five to eight minutes of a game on ESPN, I’ve noticed a lot of guys not closing out on shooters, not getting in passing lanes and, quite frankly, more than a few guys who appear to be standing around watching on the defensive end.

I’m not necessarily enamored with the idea of signing up for whoever wins the Wall lottery because A) they’re going to be awful even with him and B) I’d be more likely to follow Patterson anyway.

And it’s not that I forgot about Chuck Hayes, it’s that I forgot to mention him.

I’ve tried being a Celtics fan before, by the way, in the years when they had McCarty, Walker and a couple of other Cats, and it just didn’t take.

The beauty of the lottery is that you just never know, see Derrick Rose. And this will probably be a wacky-wild offseason so there could be some huge shifts in power and teams doing a lot of tanking. I’d say it’s 50-50 that the team that lands Wall will be awful next year. Heck, I’m not even convinced that Wall will definitely be the #1 pick come draft day.

Huge Celtics fan here. Even I think the techs, trash talking, and occasional dickishness are getting to be a bit much, though I would argue that Kobe has us pretty well outclassed in the whiny little bitch category. They do always play with a ton of intensity, though, and Rondo is one of the most fun players in the NBA to watch night in and night out: at least once or twice a game he makes a play that will make you rewind your DVR and watch it again just to figure out how the heck he did it.

If I were going to pick one team to watch every game of for the next five years and the Celtics weren’t an option, I’d go for the Thunder. Durant and Westbrook are dynamic, there’s a solid supporting cast, they play a fun brand of basketball to watch, and it’s always fun to get in on a fandom BEFORE they start winning championships. Waiting until after the upcoming free agency binge is also pretty good advice, though in a way you’re just waiting to see who can buy the best team, in that case.

I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. I don’t completely understand NBA’s CBA as it applies to Max contracts but it certainly won’t be just about who offers the most money. All those prime free agents are going to get max deals, whether it’s the Bulls, Knicks, Cavs or Wizards paying it it’s going to be the same amount of money. The big names will come to the teams that offer the best situations, best chance to win and the best management. LeBron will go where he most wants to be, not where he’s best paid.

It’s not the same as it is in, say, baseball, because of the cap, but it’s still different from watching a team that gets built from draft picks, careful free agent moves, development and improvement from who you have, and general team building over a couple of years. I find even something like this year’s Memphis fascinating in that they developed a great player out of a terrible trade, have a few of their own draft picks, and then took a chance on Randolph when no one wanted him, and they’ve put together a very competitive team. A lot of that is admittedly moot when you’re just jumping in at a given point and don’t have an investment in the players that they’ve been bringing up.

If he isn’t, it’s because DeMarcus Cousins is, and Boogie is one hell of a player.

Why is Memphis rolling the dice on a head case like Randolph and getting lucky more savvy than a team wisely managing their budget and contract in order to afford the likes of LeBron? That sounds like a careful free agent move to me.

I can’t wait to mock the team that drafts Cousins. A bust and a headcase all rolled into one.

Orlando Magic!

  1. No idea if they’re often on in your market but they get a decent share of TNT games as defending Eastern Conference champs.

  2. Defending NBA defensive player of the year Dwight Howard. 5th-best scoring defense in the league this year.

  3. Can’t help you there.

  4. Defending Eastern champs. 4 division titles and 2 conference titles over the last 15 years - so it’s not exactly a storied franchise, but then we’ve only been around for 21 years.

Plus, they wear blue, just like UK.

He’s really not a headcase, despite the reputation he’s developed among SEC referees. Sure, he doesn’t always react like he should to calls, but for crying out loud, the kid’s a year out of high school.

He won’t be a bust, though. With the soft touch he has around the rim, the way he always seems to be able to get position on rebounds and a couple of killer low-post moves, he’ll be just fine.

As for the Magic… I’m willing to consider them. I was something of a Magic fan in the Shaq-Penny-Grant days. and Dwight Howard seems likable enough. Not sure I can be OK with J.J. Redick, though.

Reddick averaged 15 minutes and 6 points per game last season, so it’s not like he’s an integral part of the team.

Just like about 25% of the NCAA, most of whom are perfectly capable of not melting down. The guy’s gonna implode in the NBA, things won’t be getting any easier for him and he’ll still be just 2 years out of high school.

I can’t recommend the Pistons right now, but between 2003 and 2008 they would have checked off all of your requests. Why did you not watch them then?

I actually tried the Pistons out a little when pretty much the entire Big Blue Nation adopted them for believing in Tayshaun (and then picking up TD and Nazr along the way.)

Despite that natural interest, though, I wasn’t really in a frame of mind to actually watch the NBA. I’m more intrigued by the NBA now.

Watched most of the first half of the Lakers-Mavs game on ESPN tonight. Actually saw some pretty good play out of both teams. Nowitzki was almost a Wildcat, too, so they’re going on the list of potential suitors.