Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Ranking the NBA Playoff Teams
So, the NBA playoffs have started and I again have something to watch on the tube besides Pardon the Interruption and Real Housewives of New York. How can I watch self-important, egotistical, name-dropping bitches yak about unimportant issues, you ask? Well, it's tough but PTI's not that bad. That Bethanny from Real Housewives though, she goes down real easy if you know what I'm sayin'. Meow. But on to the playoffs. I thought I'd rank the teams top to bottom with my pick for the eventual champion at the top, except I'll do it backwards. Wait. What? I just confused myself. Ah, hell, you'll see where I'm going with this. So, h-e-e-e-e-r-e we go . . .
16. Milwaukee. I like this team. Small market, play as a team, no real superstar, blah-blah-blah. Still, they have zero chance. Thay lost Michael Redd long ago and big Andrew Bogut went down with that gruesome arm injury, so they're in trouble from the get-go. They showed a ton of grit down the stretch but there's no way they get past a deep and talented Atlanta squad.
Sidenote: Marianne loves gruesome injuries. Whenever I see one on TV or Youtube I feel obligated to call her into the room. The conversation invariably goes like this:
Me: "Honey, you need to see this."
Her: "What now? I'm busy."
Me: "You've got to see this guy get hurt. His arm has snapped in half and is dangling by a bit of skin."
Her: "Ooh! Wait! I'll be right there."
At this point she comes in a makes me play the scene over and over several times before complaining that there isn't any blood involved. Not enough gore for her it seems. Marianne is a complex woman. And so it goes.
15. Charlotte. This is Charlotte's first-ever playoff berth, and no doubt their last before Michael Jordan screws them up with one of his Kwame Brown moves. Plus, I hear Larry Brown is heading to back to Philly, which should surprise nobody. By the way, did you know Larry Brown's full name is Lawrence Harvey Brown? Sounds like a small college. Also, just so you know, Larry has coached at Carolina (ABA), Denver, Los Angeles (Clippers), New Jersey, Kansas (NCAA), San Antonio, Los Angeles, Indiana, Philadelphia, Detroit, New York (Knicks), and Charlotte. That's really sort of staggering when you really look at it, isn't it? Good coach but even he can't get this team past the Orlandos.
14. Chicago. This team entered the playoffs going backwards, if that makes any sense. They have way too many characters on their team, guys like Noah who take the focus away from the task at hand. And that's not including G.M. John Paxson and Head Coach Vinny Del Negro, who recently got into a near rumble over Noah's playing time. Oh, and they're playing the LeBron's in Round 1. See ya.
13. Oklahoma City. Yeah, Kevin Durant is a helluva player, everybody knows that. You know what, though? I'm still not sold on the notion that Portland made a colossal mistake in taking Oden over him. Call me nuts but I think there's still a chance that Greg Oden can be more of an impact player down the road. Is that derisive chucking I hear? Anyway, Durant and Westbrook make a formidable duo but they have less of a chance against the Lakers than a 20-year old college chick getting out of Roethlisberger's bathroom without seeing his schlong. Sidenote #2: At a bar the other night, a buddy left our table to go take a leak and as he was leaving I said, "Don't forget to shake your Roethlisberger." Chuckles all around. I'm hilarious.
12. Portland. Again, too many injuries. I know, they're currently up 1-0 on Phoenix and may even win that series, but Phoenix is about as dysfuntional a team as you'll find in the league. More on that circus later. As for the Blazers, you simply can't lose that many key guys and win in the playoffs. They've lost more players to injury than any other team in the playoffs, including Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, and Joe Przybilla. Make no mistake, this team is going to be one of the league's best over the next few years (plus the old Jail Blazer days are over), this just isn't the year they break all the way through.
11. Phoenix. What the ?!%$ you say? I hear ya. Phoenix ended the season at #3 in the NBA Power Rankings! How can they be this low? Well, lemme tell ya. Their two best players are Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Know what those two have in common? They couldn't guard Cloris Leachman with a pulled hammy. Stoudemire is probably the most overrated player in the NBA. Don't get me wrong, he's a great dunker and, uh, he's a great dunker. Love Nash and his toughness, but his defense is so weak he makes Jon Diebler look like Bruce Bowen out there. Bottom line? You can't hide a poor defense in the playoffs.
10. Miami. Dwyane Wade is a one man wrecking crew but he simply doesn't have the supporting cast to pull it off. Sidenote #3 - Who spells Dwyane like that? Was it intentional or could someone not spell? Sidenote #4 - Always loved it when Jordan would refer to his "supporting cast." Pure comedy. Again, unless somebody like Michael Beasley or Daequan Cook turn into Scottie Pippin it just ain't happening kids. Sidenote #5 - Just took a look at the Heat's roster and noticed that Udonis Haslem is making $7.1 mill per year. Sweet Jesus.
9. Boston. Boston's old. Boston bitches like my Aunt Bertha. Boston is a bunch of drama queens. Boston has an overrated coach. Boston has Rasheed Wallace. Boston has Kevin Garnett, formerly my favorite player who has turned into a chest-thumping, screeching, whining ass clown. I hate Boston and I hate their fans.
8. San Antonio. I love San Antonio because I love Tim Duncan, the single most underrated player in the history of the NBA. Duncan doesn't dance, he doesn't do spectacular dunks, he has no personality. What does he do? He wins. Yeah, he does it in a boring, old school way, but he wins. He also uses the backboard. Yay! I love Tim Duncan. I also love Greg Popovich because he insists that his players play the game the right way. Unfortunately San Antonio is, like Boston, old. They're old without the bitterness though. I'd love to see them make a run. They won't.
7. Denver. Denver has one chance to win the west, and that is if George Karl makes a triumphant return to the sidelines sometime soon. Nothing like the return of a coach facing death to make a bunch of guys with the maturity of 12-year olds (ahem - Melo and K-Mart?) to join together and win one for The Gipper. God I'm cold-hearted. Otherwise, like always, they disappoint.
6. Utah. Introducing my favorite team in the NBA. Well, actually I support Cleveland because I'm from Ohio and all, but man do I like Utah. Please tell me how Jerry Sloan has never, I repeat NEVER, won a Coach of the Year award. Waiting . . . waiting . . . that's what I thought. There's no rational explanation. The man has won with virtually every conceivable mix of players imaginable and has done it with with athletes the so-called Zen Master, Phil Jackson, wouldn't let sit on the end of his bench. Seriously, the man has run the 2-man game his entire career and has beaten the bejesus out of people with it. I would give my left nut to see them hand the Lakers a beatdown and advance. Sidenote #6 - Just kidding about the left nut thing.
5. Orlando. Sometimes I can't put a finger on why I don't like Orlando. Is it Stan Van Gundy? I don't think so. He's sort of old school and I like the way he coaches. Is it Dukie J.J. Reddick? That's a possibility because I always hated that guy. No, I think I know what it is. It's Dwight Howard's constant grinning, preening, and posing for the camera. I don't want to get all racial here but I think if I was black I'd be a little disturbed by it. It has sort of a stereotypical, black-face, grin-for-the-man feel to it. Plus, the dude just never seems like he gets it, ya know? Does he really understand what it takes to win it all or is he compiling those stats on pure athletic ability? The fact that he hasn't developed a true post up game drives me crazy as well. For God's sake, man, get a jump hook.
4. Atlanta. People will get all up in arms because I rank these guys ahead of Phoenix and Orlando, but I think that on pure athletic ability alone they deserve this spot. Josh Smith is an absolute beast. Dumber than a bag of hammers, but a beast nonetheless. Total honesty - Atlanta scares me. I fear them if they play Cleveland. Sidenote #7 - Just noticed that some 6'-11" cat named Zaza Pachulia is making $4.75 million a year for the Hawks. That sound you hear is Wilt Chamberlain's head banging on the lid of his coffin.
3. Dallas. Ah, Dallas. The following has always been my line regarding Dallas. No team with Dirk Nowitzki as its go-to guy will ever win an NBA Championship. Although I've softened on that a tad (just a tad), I still believe you can count on the Big Wiener Schnitzel to choke in the clutch. I know they've supposedly toughened up by adding some players, but since when does Brendon Haywood and Caron Butler toughen you up? Finally, Jason Kidd cannot shoot the basketball. I realize Dallas is the trendy pick right now but I see them, once again, gagging when it matters most.
2. Los Angeles. The Lakers played like the Clippers down the stretch, but when it counts they'll be right there, trust me. They are just too deep, experienced and talented at too many positions not to make it to the finals. I was hoping Ron Artest would implode at some point but, alas, it never happened. By the way, that dude's hair is disgusting. It looks like somebody puked up a mouthful of Fruit Stripe Gum on his head. Mercy. Kobe will not let them lose to anybody in the west, and Odom and Gasol are the perfect role players for him. Final thought. Before I die I would love to see Phil "The Zen Master" Jackson take over a team like the New Jersey Nets and see what happened. Despite the 10-titles, you'll never convince me he's a better coach than Jerry Sloan or Lawrence Harvey Brown. Never, damn it. Never!
1. Cleveland. Yep, I'm going with the Cavs as the best team and the team that's going to win it all. No big shock, I know. Still, let's talk about this. All I've heard is that the Cleveland franchise has finally given LeBron the team he needs to win it all. You know what? I don't think they have. I"ll even go as far as to say that you could put LeBron on most of the teams that didn't make the playoffs and they'd be sitting close to where the Cavs are now. LeBron's that good. Shaq? He's old and stiff as a board, nowhere near the player he was 10-years ago. Antawn Jamison? He's a nice player, but Scottie Pippin he ain't. Next game watch carefully how he plays defense. He doesn't. Mo Williams? C'mon. Shooting guards are a dime a dozen in the NBA. Put Mo on the Mavs and he'd be their 8th man. The rest of the guys on the Cavs are average at best. Having said that, I'm picking them because, as I said, I think LeBron James is that good. I think Cleveland will win it in spite of the rest of those guys and the fact that LeBron makes them w-a-y better than they really are. Final thought, and I'm dead serious about this, why don't they just go ahead and make LeBron the player/coach? He's extremely intelligent, knows the game inside out, and all the players respect him and would listen to him. Isn't Mike Brown sort of a figurehead anyway? You know, like Reagan in the mid-80's? Isn't LeBron, like Nancy Reagan, actually running the show anyway? I'm not even kidding about this.
So there you go. I have a Cleveland vs Atlanta matchup in the East Finals, and a Dallas vs Los Angeles matchup in the West Finals, with the Cavs topping the Lakers to win it all and bring mass hysteria to the city of Cleveland. I can see it now, the parade travels through the city, stops at City hall, everybody speaks, then up steps LeBron. At that point he says something like this: "Thank you Cleveland! It was my dream to finally bring a World Championship to this city. And by the way . . . (pause for effect) . . . we're going to do it again next year!"
Hey, a guy can dream, right?