Friday, May 30, 2008


Well, the Celtics closed out the Pistons and setup the Celtics vs. Lakers Finals. This was a good game from the tip. My take on the game is as follows:

1) Be You - See, this whole getting on Rasheed about him being cordial and a good sportsman with the Celtics was stupid. Since his teammates got on him, Rasheed didn't give KG any love prior to the tip. Now, to me, have to let Sheed be Sheed. If you have an issue with him having respect, then YOU have the issue. I understand that Lindsey Hunter and Rip Hamilton are the two that came out and talked to Sheed after Game 5. I'm not saying that this threw Sheed off his game, but Sheed didn't play well in Game 6. Should have left him alone.

2) Chauncey Billups - Where have you been? I guess that hammy is ok. Billups put it all on the line and did what he could to help his team win. Flip Saunders should have ordered a lot more pick and roll because the Celtics couldn't play that very well.

3) The Truth - This was a big game for PP. I guess he channeled as much of Kobe as he could. The Celtics put on a big 4th quarter to finish this game out. He is the only Celtic that can put the ball on the floor and create his shot or shots for others. Along with his free throws, the Truth and the Celtics showed some poise down the stretch to close out the Pistons. 29-11 run in the 4th says it all.

4) Flip Saunders - It was nice coaching the Pistons, good luck finding your next job. I'm pretty sure that Flip will be unemployed in the next few weeks. Avery Johnson, aren't you out of a job?

5) Maxiell and Stuckey - Can Joe Dumars get some love for drafting players that can play? Yes, he did draft Darko, but he kind of had to because Melo isn't going to play D. But Maxiell hit some tough shots in the clutch and Stuckey, wow, I'm amazed at his poise. He didn't seem to be nervous and he was taking shots when it mattered.

So, we have the Finals settled and the two most storied NBA Franchises (30 NBA titles out of the 61). You have Kobe and Lakers going against the new (for the younger generation) Big 3 in Boston. After watching the Lakers dismantle the Spurs the other night I felt that no one would be able to beat the Lakers. After watching the Celtics close out the Pistons in Detroit, along with overcoming being down in the 4th, I am giving the Celtics a boxer's chance. So, I'm going to step up and make my prediction now, while I'm on my high from the Celtics winning the East. With that said, I gotta say the NBA Champion will be the................L....o......s.......A......n, hell to the naw. The NBA Champion will be wearing GREEN and WHITE. I got the Celtics in 7. Who you got?

Love Him or Hate Him

How can one of the NBA's dominant power forwards of his era be such a wildcard during the game? That question may bring thoughts of the Mailman, Barkley, or even KG, but the power forward in question is Rasheed Wallace. Rasheed isn't the corporate star or the NBA star that many (I personally) believe he should be. The biggest reason that things are the way they are is that Rasheed doesn't want to be that. This is a guy who over his years in the league has provided the best (TD, KG, and others) power forwards in the game issues on the defensive end. He is one of the few in the league that is long enough, quick enough, and fundamental enough to play these guys. He has an unstoppable fade away jumper , can shoot the 3, has a mid range game, and other post moves from the block. Everyone always says his issue is his head. Rasheed is combustible and fiery, but that's because he plays with passion. The guy is only known from the techs he's received, the articles about those techs, and the wonderful snippets he provides in post game interviews. From what I know about the kid from Simon Gratz, he's just a competitor. He plays the game with a passion (similar to KG) and he's darn (for the kids) good.

With all of that said, why is that people give him s$*# for giving love to the opposing team when they lose? Isn't that what sportsmanship is about? I mean the guy wants to win as badly as anyone, but hey at the end of the game, it's over. Now he gets tarred and feather by columnists and radio people because he hugged KG before the game, or that he dapped him up after the game. They are friends,......what's wrong with saying 'Man, I wanted to beat you and your team, but you guys got us this time. Peace.'. To me it's a sad thing because so many athletes don't practice sportsmanship but when the 'bad guy' (as he has been painted) does this, it's now an issue.

So, when you think about Rasheed's legacy, think about a guy that gave the game all he could, was emotional, played hard, won a championship, did large amounts of charity work that he never publicized, and that he was a good guy. Now that's Sheed being Sheed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Collins Part Deux

I had just gotten home today from picking up little inquisitive mind (he was sick at daycare) and one of my guys calls me to tell me that the Bulls have indeed found their new coach. In this case it's actually their old coach, Doug Collins. Now most of the fellow Chicagoans know that Doug went to Illinois State, played several years for the Sixers, and coached the Bulls during the beginning years of a young dynamo named Jordan. Collins was fired from that job because (in my mind) he couldn't get that team to the next level. So he comes in to a team with a roster loaded with a bunch of guards and forwards, no true point guard, no true center, and a team that underachieved last year. The team does have some talent and they have the #1 pick in the draft. This is definitely a good situation to walk in to. My question: Is Collins the best coach that the Bulls could have gotten?

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's the fuss about?

Joakim Noah gets arrested for having an open container of beer and upon being searched, actually has one joint in his pack of cigarettes. Why is this a big deal? Well, I blame Noah. Not the kid, but the father. You know, the one of tennis fame, won the French Open in 1983, know him. Well, he admitted a few years back that he and 'mary jane' used to get down prior to his tennis matches and didn't see a problem with it. So when the father says that, why are we surprised that the young Noah would see no problem with the same thing? I guess the only thing that I fault the elder Noah with is actually deciding to bring that out into the public eye. Yes, he was a star tennis player (the 2nd black man to win a Grand Slam Singles Event (the French Open) - the 1st was Arthur Ashe), a philanthropist (lots of charity involvement), and by all accounts a decent music star, but as we all know, certain things just don't help us get to where we want. If you want to talk about drug use and past indiscretions, let's wait till you're out of the public spotlight (Josh Howard needed to hear this before he talked about his past), and even then, know that anything you say can and will be held against you (or at least publicized) so that your kids (of which Noah has 5) will see it. So if your father told you, it's okay to do that, in most cases you're going to say ok, no problem,..I got it.

Now back to the younger Noah. You are black, 6'11", you have a distinct hair do,......why are you drinking in plain sight with weed on you? You can't be out impressing college age kids? Yes, you helped Florida win back-to-back National titles and you got drafted by one of the storied franchises in the NBA, so what were you thinking? Yes, it was just weed, but it's the thought process. You are famous, you have a target on your back and you put yourself in a situation where you are going to fail, or best case you have to talk the police out of arresting you. (I bet you that's what the call from John Paxson sounded like.) Now, I doubt that you'll get railroaded by other teams for one indiscretion, but at the same time, you are (possibly) messing up your money. Didn't we learn from Mike Vick and his bad math (winning $1000s on dog fighting and losing $100+M in contract and endorsement money)?

Go and get you some Cubans (cigars that is) and smoke those, it'll be cheaper in the long run.

My Picks for the NBA Conference Finals

Yeah,..I know I'm a little late, but you know this isn't my day job. So we have two conference finals that seem to be shaping up to be great. Possibly 2 7 game series. Let's start in the East:

Boston - Wow, they finally won a road game. I think they should be given the East Conference Championship just for that. KG has been solid, The Truth has been decent, and we even saw that Ray Allen is still alive (well atleast in one game). My issues with Boston start at the top. Doc, you've played your bench all year and now you're going to tighten your rotation? I know, I know, it's the playoffs,...that's what coaches do. BUT, you have guys in Powe, Davis, Allen, House, and Cassell that can produce, although I probably won't blame you for not playing Cassell as much (he hasn't been the clutch guy they thought they were going to get). Last night the Celtics just got blown out of the water in Detroit and still had opportunities to win the game at the end. Doc, loosen the reigns and let the guys play. If you can get Ray Allen to show up for 3 more games, you guys can go on to the NBA Finals.

Detroit - Did anyone realize how important one hamstring really is? Well, it's worth a lot when he's attached to the body who happens to be the head of the Pistons team. Chauncey is picking his spots, but as we can see, his shot is off right now. We all know his hammy is hurting, but Stuckey is filling in when needed. Has anyone shown more poise on the Detroit team than Stuckey and Maxiell? McDyess is the good guy that the team wants to win a ring for, and he showed up big last night. I'm not sure he's put up a 20+ points and 15+ rebound effort in a while (probably not since his rookie season, I'll get my stat guy to check. Yes, I may be low budget right now, but I have a stat guy). The Pistons seem to be on a mission to make this happen against the Celtics.

My Pick - Celtics in 7. Yes, I'm going against the Pistons. This may be more heart than head, because I want KG to win a ring. This might even make up for Barkley not getting one, but KG deserves a ring (can you feel the emotion?). The Celtics have some work to do but this can happen for them. They need some production from the bench and they need Ray Allen to get more points that shot attempts and they should advance to the NBA Finals.

Los Angeles - Well, nothing more to say really, Kobe was/is the MVP of the league. They have a bomb squad with Gasol, Odom, Walton, Radmanovic, Fisher, Vujacic, Turiaf, Farmar, and all of them are under contract (plus big Bynum is back next year). I think on talent alone the Lakers should win this series. They have the best player in the game in Kobe and he has that 'killer' in him that will not let his team lose. They have played well together and seem to have the chemistry that they have lacked in the past years. Farmar and Vujacic need to stay on their games and Odom has got to dominate his match-up, because the Spurs don't have anyone that can stop him.

San Antonio - You ever been to the Riverwalk? Nice area, good food, good fun,....and that's it. I'm not going to hide it, I don't like the Spurs. Hoped that the Hornets could have gotten them out of the way last series but it wasn't in the cards. Tim Duncan is exactly what he was 5 years ago, minus the athleticism that he's lost, a technically sound big man. If you have a post move that everyone in the gym knows you're going to use and you still use it and get the results, you are good (doesn't hurt that his basketball IQ was grown in ACC country). Tony Parker, is still the same guy that isn't the best shooter, but he seems to effortlessly get to the basket against anyone. The one person on the Spurs that gets that team going is (in my best Charles Barkley voice) Gi-n-o-b-i-l-i!!!!! He stirs the pot right now with his shooting, drives to the hole, and timely passing. Ginobili always seems to be in the middle of a Spurs run. They have a veteran-laden bench that can come in and maintain, but they often don't put up lots of numbers to get their team back into a game.

My Pick - Lakers in 7. Yes, I want to see the Lakers get to the Finals. I probably want to see the Spurs get beaten more than anything. The Lakers have all of the pieces, and we'll see what happens. The Lakers have to stop Ginobili so I expect to see the Mamba on him for the rest of the series. Odom is the key to the series, he's got to abuse whomever he turns to see when he has the ball.

Well, with all of that said,....I reserve the right to make changes to my picks, but until then I'll stick with these. It's great to be me, eh?

Saturday Morning at A.T.T.A.C.K

As a plus of being able to help with America's Next Sports Star I got up early on Saturday morning and made plans to get to A.T.T.A.C.K Athletics as quickly as I could. For those that don't know, traffic here in Chicago sucks, even on Saturday morning. So, I gave myself an hour and half to get to the venue. With my luck, I get there early and I walk up to the front and give them the 'Hey, I'm here to help out with the America's Next Sports Start filming and the man himself, Tim Grover, let's us in his gym. He's not what I expected (maybe one of those stone chiseled trainers off of TV was my expectation), but he's a good guy, down to earth, yet about his business. He has made a great living doing what he does and his results work, as attributed to his long client list, which include Jordan, Kobe, and DWade. So, he let us in the gym and while we were setting up we were able to watch some of the guys, who happen to be entering the draft this year, workout. Things I noticed/heard while being in the spot:

1) A certain Miami Heat guard should be getting ready for the Olympics and his working on his knee to make sure he is ready. He's on track, but he's not 100% yet. But things are going well. He has already started with non-contact drills but they want to ease him into things slowly.

2) I was able to watch a small part of a workout by OJ Mayo (USC), Bill Walker (Kansas State), Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis), Eric Gordon (Indiana), and one other guy (not sure if it was Shawn Pruitt from Illinois or not - maybe this guy isn't in the draft).
  • The first thing I noticed is that OJ definitely can play point at the next level and the people who are saying that Miami may draft him if Rose is taken #1 actually may have an argument. He's in the mold of one of those players that is smooth. His game seems effortless.
  • CDR is skinny. I mean Rip Hamilton is thin, but this guy is small. He has game, but he's gotta get to a Fatburger or something and get some food. He actually looks like his listed height of 6'5" or 6'6" (depending on where you get the numbers).
  • Bill Walker looked like a beast. I know he'll play small forward in the league and he has the quickness (terrible ACL injury almost 18 months ago) and the ability to make things happen. He looks like he's in shape (and not like me,...I'm in shape,....round is a shape). He may open some eyes during workouts. During one of the drills the dummy, that is used to alter shots and give the players an idea of an obstacle, was actually used to almost tackle Bill and he was still finishing with authority.
  • Eric Gordon is actually bigger than I thought. He can shoot the rock (we all know that), but I am not sure that he can run the point at the next level (which may be his only criticism). He did well in the drills I saw, finishing with both hands.
  • Now I may be round, but I know that I'm 6'3" and if Eric Gordon and OJ Mayo are 6'4" or taller, I'm changing my driver's license information. As these guys left the court, I am looking at them eye to eye. I can't wait for the measurements to come out, because I'm willing to bet these guys grade out shorter that people think. I was more surprised by Mayo's height than Gordon's though.

America's Next Sports Star Part II

Well, this Memorial Day weekend has been a great one indeed. I want to first thank the Street Basketball Association management for allowing me to come out and be an extra at the filming of America's Next Sports Star and to get a bird's eye view of the talent that the city of Chicago brings to the table. It was also great to meet a lot of the AAU coaches and players representing the different areas of the city.

For those that didn't come out and tryout, the tryouts were at Tim Grovers' A.T.T.A.C.K Athletics facility in Chicago. It's a wonderful piece of work. Chad Ford from ESPN may have summed it up well in his article about the workouts at the gym:

"I spent the day watching draft prospects in Tim Grover's new state-of-the-art training
facility -- the A.T.T.A.C.K. Athletics Center. Grover's new gym is so cutting-edge it
puts even the best NBA training facilities to shame. Four full NBA courts, spacious
locker rooms, incredible workout machines, including an underwater treadmill, plus a
players' lounge with an 85-inch plasma screen, pool tables, and private rooms for
sleeping and playing video games -- it's amazing." - Chad Ford

The tryouts themselves were great. Talent arrived early and often and it seemed as though SBA has the ability to get the word out, even in Chicago, to get the talent out for the show. The camera crews showed up and setup, the coaches got in early, and everything went pretty much scheduled as planned. Approximately 60 hungry guys showed up (about 4 women also) to try to be America's Next Sportstar. Each of them signing the necessary paperwork and then being provided with a number so that we could easily pick out the stars.

The day started out with stretching and warming up on one side of the gym. So imagine 60 people stretching, running, and finally doing layup lines. During the all of this the cameras were rolling so that they would get the footage that they were looking for. They wanted the scene of a basketball tryout and what it takes to even make the first cut. They interviewed some of the guys and some gave great performances on camera. During the layup lines you got a chance to see some of the 'talent' that these guys had. Let's just say that guys try to do things when the camera's are on. There were several highlights just from the layup lines, an off the board windmill dunk, a between the legs dunk, one alley oop dunk (not your average layup line, huh?), and the best one of the day: A between the legs, oop with a windmill finish. Let's just say that this guy would have won a dunk contest with this one. I'm still trying to understand how he did all of that AND still made the dunk. You had some shooters out there too. There was one guy who hit about 8 or 9 in a row at one point (you might say, wow, that's not so hard, but he was doing it in the layup line with different guys giving him the rock at different places and some people who maybe should have been on the sidelines with me. The guy had great rhythm with his jumper, very consistent).

The next part of the day was running the traditional basketball weave and then doing some 3-on-2/2-on-1 drills that really gave the coaches an idea of the basketball IQ of these guys. The cameras were setup over the court, at each basket, and in two separate corners. If you look real hard, you'll see yours truly as a coach in one corner (hint: I had the camera around my neck). We'll see what happens, hopefully I don't end up on the cutting room floor.

Finally each of the 60 were split up into teams and scrimmages were held. At the end of the day (I had to leave a little early to take care of the fam) the judges were there to make sure that all of the talent was evaluated fairly. Your next question is probably, who made the cut? Well, it wouldn't be interesting if I told you who did. I guess you'll have to watch the show and see who made the cuts in Chicago. Maybe one of these guys actually wins the contest. My lips are sealed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Luck of the Bulls

That sound that you heard late on Tuesday night in the suburbs of Chicago had to have been the drinking glass that Paxson dropped when he saw that his Chicago Bulls will pick first in the 2008 NBA Draft. Kind of makes you feel good for messing up the whole D'Antoni situation and for not making a deal to bring in either Gasol or KG last year. So either Paxson is living good or he just ran into a string of luck (Mr. Paxson the Mega Millions drawing is later this week, send me the numbers from your ticket).

With the #1 pick, everyone knows exactly whom the Bulls should pick,........Michael Beasley. Yes, I too am in love with what Derrick Rose brings to the game and I think that he will be a great point guard in the league (has to be pointed out here than D'Antoni would love to be coaching Rose instead of Nate Robinson or Stephon Marbury), but the Bulls need a low post scorer. They have needed a low post scorer since they made the biggest mistake by trading Elton Brand away for a young Tyson Chandler. Passing on Rose may end up being a colossal mistake, but the Bulls aren't the Atlanta Hawks. Michael Beasley brings a low post scorer who can score from the post to the 3 point line. More importantly he brings a nastiness that the Bulls need, someone who would play with a chip on his shoulder and would demand the ball. The bad side of Beasley is you have to hope that the off the court stuff doesn't mess up the on the court stuff.

So, Mr. Paxson, you are now on the clock, not only do you have to find a coach, you have to find a taker for Ben Gordon (and the $50 million that he wants), and a good media relations person to work with you so that you don't get killed when you don't draft the hometown kid (Rose) and take the Beast from Kansas State. Good luck with all of that.

Old Man Basketball

I watched the Spurs and Hornets last night and I just knew that somehow the Hornets would find a way to pull it out and win this game. To my chagrin, it never happened. The Spurs did to the Hornets what your dad or older uncle would do to you as a young kid, they 'old manned' you to death. Nothing flashy, nothing quick, just results. On it's face, if I wouldn't have seen the game and just saw the final score, I would have said that the Spurs got the home cookin' (beneficial calls from the refs) that some thought the Hornets would get, since the game was in NO. But this wasn't one of your Dwayne Wade moments against the Mavs to win the title a few years back (I think the Mavs are still getting called for fouls to this day from that game), the Spurs played meticulous basketball. They got contributions from guys who probably are dead already (based on their NBA careers) in Finley, and Horry. They got a lift from Udoka and some Bowen defense, but in the end, it came down to 'Timmy' and Parker. I was surprised to see Parker even wave Duncan off a few times during the game. Then I saw Duncan apologizing to Parker on the way to the huddle on one occasion. No, I didn't forget the performance of the night from Ginobili (although something about him makes me not like the dude). Ginobili carried the Spurs in the 2nd when they pushed their lead into double digits.
I had hoped that West would catch on fire, but whatever they were able to do to his back wasn't enough for him to play at 100%. Both he and CP3 had good games but terrible nights shooting. I saw Stojakovic's face on a milk carton this morning, a trip to the Western Conference Finals is the reward for finding him and his game. The Hornets seemed to lose it a little at the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd quarters. Did Byron get it wrong by not putting in spark plug Julian Wright or play Bonzi a little longer? Was Pargo a little late with his heroics?
I guess these questions will never be answered sufficiently for the Hornets. At least they can bank on the fact that they can get back to this point next year, well, hopefully they can with a better bench and a better draw in the playoffs.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Duel in Beantown

Wow, what a game? You had the TRUTH going against the KING, tit for tat. Did it rival Nique vs. Bird? Maybe it did and hearing Nique talk about it today on ESPN Radio (Mike Tirico Show), it was a duel for the ages.

The Good:

LeBron - Has any one player had to really carry his entire team like this? I mean, maybe Jordan before the Bulls became good, maybe Kobe over the last few years, but no one should have issue with the way LeBron played yesterday. He did it all for them, scored, rebounded, and assisted (would have had more if his teammates could have hit a shot). He needed some help yesterday and no one other than West even chipped in. Wally World, he didn't hit a basket outside of the layup line, Big Z had limited touches, and Daniel Gibson looked good sitting on the bench in that gray overcoat. Danny Ferry, you are now on the clock to find a way to turn Wally's expiring contract and pieces to get LBJ a sidekick or you get to watch him playing in NY in 2 years.

Paul Pierce - This was the first time during the playoffs that he decided that he was a player that needed to be guarded. He often falls in love with the fade away long jumpers or 3's. Yesterday he took the ball to the rack, splitting double teams, and finding the open man when needed. Other than that, he was the only scorer that the Celtics could count on down the stretch. When he hit the free throw to get his 40th point, you could tell that it was his night to win. Celtic fans should collectively say 'Thanks' to the Truth.

The Bad:

Ray Allen - How do I say this,....about a guy who is the best 3 point shooting guard in the league? Ray, when are you going to show up? It's like he's been on vacation during the 2nd Round of the playoffs. Even Jesus Shuttlesworth showed up Ray ( I expect for Ray to come out of his funk against Detroit because the Celts will need it.

Wally World - Maybe he and Ray Allen just D'ed each other up and this really is about defense and not offense. Wally made a 4 point performance by RA look like a good outing. Wally went scoreless. Hope you're renting a place in Cleveland, it's so hard to sell in this market.

Cleveland bench - Ferry, help us!!!! 21 points from the Cleveland bench. The entire bench? You can throw in there that the other 4 starters gave you 26. LBJ won't be this young for this long.

The Celtics are still alive and play Detroit. They can't wait for Game 7 to try and beat the Pistons. Celtics in 6.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Are you ready to be America's Next Sports Star?

Have you been wondering how you can make it to the NBA, the NBDL, Europe, or just play basketball for a living? Maybe you've finally found the opportunity to make that happen. Start practicing and get a haircut!!!!! Take a look,..................

For Immediate Release:



The SBA Sports Management and Entertainment Group is pleased to announce that the Street Basketball Association has been contracted to manage, market, and recruit athletes for the upcoming reality basketball television series, “America’s Next Sports Star.” In addition, the SBA will use its resources to secure venue locations, media partners, top coaches, and celebrity judges interested in being part of the Reality Show.

On Saturday, May 24th, 2008, the SBA will be facilitating the “AMERICA'S NEXT SPORTS STAR” free, open auditions for basketball players in the Chicago area. Using the Reality TV formula, players have been auditioning their talent all over the country for the upcoming basketball television reality series, America's Next Sports Star, a new weekly reality show that offers athletes the opportunity of a lifetime. It combines the excitement of a professional sporting event with the intuitiveness and daring of a reality show. In this sports version of American Idol, contestants compete to determine the nation's best athletes. This is a lively, action-filled program that draws upon the excitement from the grandfather of all reality genres -SPORTS.

Auditions will be held seeking the best athletes in various sports, beginning with Men's Basketball. Top candidates will arrive at the filming location for a shot at stardom. The contestants who survive the trials of competition move on to the next round where the challenges become more difficult, and the athletes' resiliency and determination are tested even further.

Champions will be born, discovered, and ultimately crowned on AMERICA'S NEXT SPORTS STAR!!! "Each week more competitors will be eliminated by the vote of the celebrity judges and by the TV viewing audience until the final climactic show when some of the best athletes in the nation square off against each other," said one of the producers, Ken Latourneau. "America's Next Sports Star is looking for talented basketball players to showcase their athletic skills, eventually giving one of these athletes a second chance to attain that childhood dream of athletic stardom! Everyone will get a shot, and it is all for FREE!”

How many times have you thought you could hold your own with the best three point shooters in the NBA? Or felt that you are one of the best slam-dunk artists the world doesn't know? Now you have the opportunity to display those talents in front of a national TV audience on America's Next Sports Star!" Players who end up making the show will be flown to Las Vegas to film the show competing for cash prizes and a chance to go straight from the TV Show to a spot in the PROS! Celebrity coaches and players will be added to the filming of the Show to add some flare giving tips to the viewing and studio audience on how to improve their game. Former NBA and 3-point Champion Craig Hodges and Legendary Coach Jerry Tarkanian have come aboard as judges and coaches at the Las Vegas filming.

Athletes interested in auditioning should pre-register by contacting (202) 409-6206 or emailing / For more information please visit the following: and

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

D'Antoni to Bulls, A Good Idea?

I like D'Antoni and I like what he was able to do in the desert with Phoenix. My only issue with him is that his willingness to have his teams play 'D' has come into question. At some point during the season or during the playoffs, you HAVE to make a defensive stop. If you don't, you end up on the wrong side of the TNT slogan, 'Win or Go Home'. I think D'Antoni has a great system in place in Phoenix but he also has/had (depending on how you view the Shaq trade) the right pieces for his system.

With the thought of him coming to Chicago, I am initially excited, but then I had to think about it. The Bulls stopped playing for Skiles, but he was overbearing and his whole 'my way or the highway' routine probably got tired. He did get the Bulls to play above their heads and make the playoffs last year, but the foundation wasn't built to last. Now with D'Antoni, he comes to Chicago and he inherits a Bulls team that's eager to prove that they aren't as bad as they showed this year, but he also inherits a team with some talent in that Phoenix (pre-Shaq) mold. He'll have several pieces at the guard spot with Hughes, Gordon, and Sefolosha, Hinrich, JamesOn Curry (a sleeper if they implement D'Antoni's system. A talented scorer in the mold of J.R. Smith of Denver, and he also brings some baggage). He'll have the wings that he needs in Deng and Nocioni, and the forwards/bigs in Thomas, Noah, Gooden, and Gray. On paper and in some people's minds, this all seems like it should be great.

I just don't see it that way. I think that D'Antoni brings a new system that will allow players to flourish and do what they do best, but the downside is as follows:

-Chris Duhon was probably the best point guard on the team and the Bulls don't look like they are going to re-sign him. Which means that the best point guard on the team will be Hinrich and he leaves you wanting as PGs go, especially in a running system that D'Antoni brings.

-Gordon could inflate his value (especially in his mind) by putting up the numbers in a system that's going to allow him to shoot when he wants, how he wants, and from where he wants. So next summer, you the Bulls will have to find someone who wants a short 2 guard (not named Iverson) and wants to pay him more than $10 million a year or the Bulls get nothing for Gordon.

-...with that said, Gordon is the Bulls best 2 guard. Larry Hughes is a 2 guard who can't shoot, he's a scorer who would be great in this system because he can put it on the floor and take it to the rack. Sefolosha and Curry both need time to grow.

-The Bigs on this team are decent. I like Thomas in this run and gun style, Gooden will be good (he may have to play center in the East in this system). Noah is a perfect fit for this system, a hustle guy who will run and leave it all out on the floor. Aaron Gray seems to be the odd man out, a big banger that I don't know fits this system.

So, all in all, I think D'Antoni brings new life to Chicago, I think the Bulls increase on the 'W' side, but the roster is going to need some upgrades to make this a Championship Team. It's going to take a few years to get them back to that Championship caliber team that Chicago wants. In the end, Paxson gets kudos for bringing in a coach of D'Antoni's stature, but at the end of the day, I don't see it making the Bulls that much better. I guess we'll see.

NBA 2008 Playoffs

Well, today it's about sports.

Kobe gets his first MVP today, which is long over due. I'm not a Kobe apologist, but he is the bet player in the game. With that said, he also has a good 'team' around him. With Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Fisher, Farmar, Turiaf, Vujacic, Radmonovic, Walton, and the rest of the guys, they have a great chance of creating their own mini-dynasty.

New Orleans has the other guy that should have been MVP. Chris Paul is playing out of his mind. The way that he is destroying the Spurs, and I say 'he' because he runs that show and has the ball in his hands the majority of the time. He makes the game easier for the rest of his team. Peja doesn't resemble the choker that he was when he played in Sactown, and everyone really knows their roles. You have to give the head coach some credit too for allowing his PG to play the game and not pull an 'Avery' on Chris Paul.

Is Detroit for real, or are they going to fall a sleep at the wheel again in this series. They are clearly the better team, when motivated, and they should be Orlando, but will they? Chauncey looks like he's gaining his nickname, 'Mr. Bigshot', and Rasheed is on board. Rasheed will probably go down as one of the most underrated big men in the game. The guy can score from anywhere on the floor and he is the Joe Dumars to Mike Jordan for most big men in the league, meaning he's a defensive presence.

I'm rooting for the Celtics because I want to see KG win a ring, but at the same time, this 7 game series with the Hawks was in fact scary. They have to find a way to stop an athletic big guard/forward since they draw the LeBrons in the 2nd round of the playoffs. This ought to be a very interesting series.