NBA Graveyard 2016: Bucks Take a Step Back

It’s March and that means the season is effectively over for a number of NBA teams. We’ll be picking through the remains of the fakers, pretenders and never-had-a-chancers to determine what went wrong. More importantly, what can be salvaged going into next season and beyond? Cuz the great thing about the NBA is even when all is lost, the dead still have hope. There’s always room for wild optimism thanks to coaching carousels, the siren song of the big free agent, the franchise-saving Draft pick, the unknown potential of young assets and blind faith. 

For the second straight year, the Milwaukee Bucks are figuring things out in the final stretch of the season. Unfortunately for them, the East is no longer a cakewalk. You must win more than you lose to stay alive in 2016…

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Postmortem: I’ve written about the disappointing 2015-16 Bucks extensively back in December, when it was already clear this was a lost season. I won’t rehash too much here. It will suffice to say that it’s nearly April and the Bucks haven’t had one winning month. Here are their monthly splits: Continue reading

NBA Graveyard 2016: The Knicks’ Bermuda Triangle

It’s March and that means the season is effectively over for a number of NBA teams. We’ll be picking through the remains of the fakers, pretenders and never-had-a-chancers to determine what went wrong. More importantly, what can be salvaged going into next season and beyond? Cuz the great thing about the NBA is even when all is lost, the dead still have hope. There’s always room for wild optimism thanks to coaching carousels, the siren song of the big free agent, the franchise-saving Draft pick, the unknown potential of young assets and blind faith. 

That sound you hear may be the death knell of the fabled Triangle Offense, which is being driven to obsolescence by this iteration of the New York Knicks.

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Postmortem: The Knicks won 17 games in 2014-15 in Derek Fisher’s first season as head coach. Their offense ranked dead last in the NBA, producing just 91.9 points per game. By far, this was the worst output for a Phil Jackson-involved team that ran the fabled Triangle offense. The idea of the Triangle as a catch-all was on life support, while the narratives about Phil’s success being owed solely to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal (three of the best players of all time) gained steam. Continue reading

Revised Olympic Roster Predictions (UPDATE)

Since I posted my Olympic roster picks in January two spots have opened up and, though we will all miss Anthony Davis and Chris Paul in Rio, we at least get to revisit this exercise! Davis will be forced to miss the Olympics as he’ll still be recovering from knee surgery and Paul decided to give his aging body a summer vacation – can’t blame him for that. So very quickly, here’s a reminder of who made my team the first time around, plus a list of the final players cut:

PG – Steph Curry

PG -€“ Chris Paul

PG/SG – Russell Westbrook

SG -€“ Jimmy Butler

G/F – Kawhi Leonard

F – LeBron James

F -€“ Carmelo Anthony

F – Paul George

F -€“ Kevin Durant

F – Draymond Green

F/C -€“ Anthony Davis

C – DeMarcus Cousins

Alternates – (F) Blake Griffin, (G) John Wall, (G) James Harden

Final cuts – Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan

The first thought that entered my mind when I heard Paul was bowing out was that Damian Lillard would be jumping into at least an alternate spot if not onto the 12-man roster due to his surreal play since the All-Star Break. But then I looked back at the list of qualifiers, and in a goddamn travesty, Lillard didn’t even make the cut! Really?!? Dame isn’t a top 30 player, Team USA? The only good that can come of this omission is a Dame diss track aimed at Coach K. OK, after some more digging I can be calmed down. Apparently Lillard was added to the pool thanks to his recent exploits. My bad. He takes Paul’s place for me, and playing with the best of the best will hopefully improve his defense.

Replacing Davis is tougher, as he could play center with a small ball lineup of five shooters or slide to the 4 to play next to Cousins in a deadly frontcourt alignment. Normally Blake would be the call, as he is versatile enough to play those same roles. But uncertainty over his health and recent issues off the court make him sort of a wild card. Let’s see how he does in this postseason, where he can easily prove himself worthy of a spot on this team. For now, though, let’s slot in his teammate Jordan, who’s had a phenomenal two-way season and provides our Olympic team much-needed rim protection. So here’s my revised 12-man roster + alternates, as of March 29:

Guards – Curry, Lillard, Westbrook, Butler, Leonard

Forwards – James, Anthony, George, Durant, Green

Centers – Cousins, Jordan (unless Blake is 100%)

Alternates – Harden, Griffin, Thompson

I welcome your debate/scorn in the comments.

 

NBA Graveyard 2016: The Nets’ Cautionary Tale

It’s March and that means the season is effectively over for a number of NBA teams. We’ll be picking through the remains of the fakers, pretenders and never-had-a-chancers to determine what went wrong. More importantly, what can be salvaged going into next season and beyond? Cuz the great thing about the NBA is even when all is lost, the dead still have hope. There’s always room for wild optimism thanks to coaching carousels, the siren song of the big free agent, the franchise-saving Draft pick, the unknown potential of young assets and blind faith. 

Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov shot for the moon after moving the Nets from New Jersey to flashy new digs in Brooklyn. His aim proved disastrously awful, and today we sort through the aftermath.

netsgrave

Postmortem: The 2015-16 Nets never had a chance to win; they also had no incentive to lose. This is Dostoyevsky’s inevitable pain and suffering. Continue reading

NBA Graveyard 2016: An Over-Processed Philly

It’s March and that means the season is effectively over for a number of NBA teams. We’ll be picking through the remains of the fakers, pretenders and never-had-a-chancers to determine what went wrong. More importantly, what can be salvaged going into next season and beyond? Cuz the great thing about the NBA is even when all is lost, the dead still have hope. There’s always room for wild optimism thanks to coaching carousels, the siren song of the big free agent, the franchise-saving Draft pick, the unknown potential of young assets and blind faith.

I’m tardy with this blog post – it could’ve been written in October, given the sorry state of the 76ers. We’ll keep this short and sweet for our own sanity.

sixersgrave.png Continue reading

Wolves’ Tragic Start, All Too Familiar Finish

It’s March and that means the season is effectively over for a number of NBA teams. We’ll be picking through the remains of the fakers, pretenders and never-had-a-chancers to determine what went wrong. More importantly, what can be salvaged going into next season and beyond? Cuz the great thing about the NBA is even when all is lost, the dead still have hope. There’s always room for wild optimism thanks to coaching carousels, the siren song of the big free agent, the franchise-saving Draft pick, the unknown potential of young assets and blind faith.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will miss the postseason for the 12th straight year, but a promising young core built by their late coach offers hope for the future.

ForFlip

Continue reading

NBA Graveyard 2016: Kobe, Byron Doom Lakers

It’s March and that means the season is effectively over for a number of NBA teams. We’ll be picking through the remains of the fakers, pretenders and never-had-a-chancers to determine what went wrong. More importantly, what can be salvaged going into next season and beyond? Cuz the great thing about the NBA is even when all is lost, the dead still have hope. There’s always room for wild optimism thanks to coaching carousels, the siren song of the big free agent, the franchise-saving Draft pick, the unknown potential of young assets and blind faith.

Father Time continued his hot streak by claiming Los Angeles Lakers luminary Kobe Bryant as his latest victim, and in turn, the Lakers themselves. Continue reading