Thursday, June 5

Breaking It Down

I’m still struggling with who to root for in the Finals, and with tip-off merely a few hours away, I thought I’d break it down and see who I liked best at each position.

Remember, this isn’t who I think is the better player, it’s who I would root for in a one-on-one matchup.

POINT GUARD
Rajon Rondo v Derek Fisher
I don’t know why, but I’ve never liked Fisher. Maybe it’s an anti-lefty bias, or perhaps just leftovers from the Laker 3-peat, but I just don’t care for the guy. Rondo, on the other hand, is fun to watch and always capable of doing something exciting.

SHOOTING GUARD
Ray Allen v Kobe Bryant

Um, gee, that’s a tough one. Bottom line: I refuse to cheer for someone who 1) gave himself a nickname, and 2) made that nickname “Mamba.” Go, Ray, go.

SMALL FORWARD
Paul Pierce v Vladimir Radmanovic

Another easy one. How can you root against a guy so obviously willing to make himself look foolish? Do you think Pierce would be willing to sport this outfit? Of course not. Edge, Radman.

POWER FORWARD
Kevin Garnett v Lamar Odom
I’ll admit, I love Kevin Garnett. I love his intensity, I love the way he sort of resembles a creature from another planet, I love his -5% body fat. Can you think of two more diametrically opposed personalities in the entire league than Garnett and Odom? I’m rooting for KG, thank you very much.

CENTER
Kendrick Perkins v Pau Gasol

I like Spain, and Spaniards in general, but I’ve never warmed up to Pau. Maybe it’s because he always looks as if someone stole his moped, but I just can’t get excited about rooting for him. Perkins, alternatively, is fun to cheer for, simply because he’s almost like a real, old-fashioned NBA center. I like that he is 0-for-6 in his career in 3-point attempts. I like that he has more in common with Earl Cureton than Earl Monroe. Centers are supposed to push people around and get rebounds, right?

RESERVES
Celtics v Lakers

Well, Boston’s got PJ Brown, who I’ve always enjoyed, as well should-have-been-a-Sonic Glen Davis, who’s sort of a Danny Fortson for the Facebook generation. The Lakers have Sasha Vujacic (ick), Luke Walton (double-ick), and Jordan Farmar (who the what now?). If it wasn’t for Ronny Turiaf I could honestly say that I have no positive opinions about anyone on the Laker bench. (Although, I have to admit that I had a feeling back in February that Vujacic would become famous in June for making a 3-pointer at one point in the Finals; you just get that Steve Kerr-ish feeling from him). Definite edge to Boston here.

COACH
Doc Rivers v Phil Jackson

I know the Zen Master is annoying, but I like that he admits he’s annoying, or at least admits that the whole press-coach relationship is a bit of a game. I’m siding with Mr. Jeanne Buss.

INTANGIBLES
Boston vs Los Angeles

On the one hand, you’ve got Boston, which seems to have marked its territory around every major sporting event. On the other, you’ve got late-arriving Laker fans. Can I just call it a push?

So, the calculator says Boston wins, by a score of five to two. Which means, yours truly will be rooting for Boston for the next week or so.

That, and for a certain someone special to have to make a plane trip to Seattle. That would be extra sweet.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm rooting for the Lakers because I) I like Kobe and II) I hate Boston fans. I'm just sick of the accent, the whole thing. Hey, we get it, the Red Sox-Yankee series is a big deal NOW QUIT SHOVING IT DOWN OUR FLIPPIN THROATS!!

Go Western Conference!

Eric Reynolds said...

I was listening to a Bill Walton interview on espn.com last night about the finals and he predicted a Celtics win because there was no way that Radmanovic or Luke W. could guard Paul Pierce. In other words, he predicted his son's team would lose -- because of his son. Which is almost as good as the time that Luke was a rookie and Bill was on ESPN talking about how much pussy his son was getting and how awesome it was. Given all of this, I'm rooting for Bill Walton in the NBA Finals.

Anonymous said...

I rooting for the Lakers b/c Vlade trumps everything else. The Space Cadet lives.

AK1984 said...

Even though I like Vladimir "The Space Cadet" Radmanovic's offbeat style and overall quirkiness, he's not a prototypical 3 within Phil Jackson's Triangle Offense. Instead of spot-up three-point shooter such as Vladi Radman, the Los Angeles Lakers would be better served with a point forward (e.g., Marko Jaric, John Salmons, et al.) who can create for himself, distribute the rock, play hard-nosed perimeter defense, and stick it from beyond the arc.

While Luke Walton fits the role of a traditional point forward, Radmanovic -- as well as the athleic, albeit unrefined Trevor Ariza -- don't possess that versatile skill set. With off guards (i.e., Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar) manning the point in that unique offensive scheme, there should definitely be a playmaker at the ballside wing beside whomever is the shooting guard (i.e., Kobe Bryant, Sasha Vujacic, and Coby Karl).

Anyhow, aside from that diatribe, I also hate fans from New England. Those folks seemingly act like that they're entiled to every professional championship. That, without question, annoys the fuck out of me.

Anonymous said...

AK1984, why don't you post on Sonicscentral anymore? I miss your 14-team trade proposals.

Trev said...

I don't know if I can live in a world where Doc Rivers has more championship rings than Rick Adelman, Dwayne Casey, Nate McMillan, the Van Gundys, and George Karl combined.

Their once graceful half court attack is in shambles and Doc has no idea what to do. (Credit their D to future head coach Tom Thibodeau).

Based upon the ugliness of a Celtics win, I think I have to root for the Lakers (shudder). I'm sorry Ray. I'm so sorry.

AK1984 said...

"AK1984, why don't you post on Sonicscentral anymore? I miss your 14-team trade proposals." {Anonymous}

I was basically banned from SonicsCentral for pissing off its deified leader, Brian Robinson, but it's no big deal.

The animosity between us goes both ways, however. As it is, I dislike him due to his pandering for donations, his blinded homerism, and his substandard commentary -- or, in some cases, lack thereof -- on the actual sport of basketball.

Alas, that's neither here nor there.

Anonymous said...

If Garnett doesn't get a ring in his career, there is no justice. Kobe already has 3. Anyone that's rooting against Garnett is basically a bad person.

Eric Reynolds said...

"Anyone that's rooting against Garnett is basically a bad person."

Uh-huh.

chunkstyle23 said...

Celtics for me. Yes, Boston fans are insufferable. Like, the Obnoxiousness of Laker Fans X3 sports insufferable.

However, seeing as how the Puget Sound region is a refuge for more expatriate Californians than New Englanders, I gotta root for the green on this one. Celtics fans appear at the Key once a year. Freakin' Lakers fans stage a hostile takeover at least 3-4 times a year. Another ring would just add to the misery.

Brandon said...

How can you people really root for Kobe "The Rapist and worst teammate in the history of the NBA, but now he's pretending he's a nice guy" Bryant to win his FOURTH freaking ring and root against KG, Pierce, and our good friend Ray to all win their 1st rings? These 3 guys have had such great careers and always been good team players, they deserve a ring. Kobe winning again would be a damn injustice. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. If the Lakers win and the Sonics leave, screw the NBA.

AK1984 said...

Dude, Brandon, Kobe Bryant didn't commit a crime.

Allegedly, Bryant raped some broad named Katelyn Faber; yet, in all reality, he did nothing more than fuck a mentally unstable, insane cunt -- who's also a noted drug addict -- doggy style.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Faber

Although I shouldn't've been so graphic in the previous paragraph, my disdain toward bitches like Faber makes my blood boil to 212° Fahrenheit.

Fuck, Faber should be locked up in an asylum.

AK1984 said...

Okay, with regards to the earlier comment about my recent lack of well-known trade proposals, here's one from 11/17/2007 involving a retroactive hypothetical that's based heavily on nostalgia.

"On 9/20/2000, the Seattle Supersonics packaged Horace Grant, Vernon Maxwell, Lazaro Borrell, Vladimir Stepania, Greg Foster, Chuck Person, Emanual Davis, a 2002 first-round draft pick (i.e., Kareem Rush), a 2001 second-round draft pick (i.e., Eric Chenowith), and a 2001 second-round draft pick via the Boston Celtics (i.e., Michael Wright) in a four-team trade — which included the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks, and the Phoenix Suns — for Patrick Ewing.

http://espn.go.com/nba/news/2000/0920/761826.html

Although Ewing was an over-the-hill, washed-up has-been at that point in his career, he still provided the Supersonics with so-so production at center throughout the 2000-2001 season; plus, his $14,000,000 expiring contract gave the franchise some financial flexibility during the 2001 off-season — in spite of the fact that it was ultimately wasted on signing Calvin Booth to a six-year, $34 million contract — so that was an added bonus.

Anyway, I had an off-the-wall, albeit intriguing idea that went through my mind last night. What if the Supersonics had acquired another future Hall of Famer — who also possessed an enormous expiring contract — to pair alongside Ewing in the interior? I’m referring to none other than the then 37-year-old Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon.

During the 2000 off-season, it was widely known that Wally Walker had placed Vin Baker on the trading block — as the overpaid, underperforming blob was originally rumored to be dealt to New York as a part of the Ewing deal — however, the Supersonics decided to hold onto him in hopes that he’d return to being a perennial NBA All-Star. That, of course, was a major mistake.

In my nostalgic trade proposal, Baker and Brent Barry — who’d be added to the deal for salary cap purposes — would be shipped off to the Houston Rockets for an aging, yet moderately productive Olajuwon and two future first-round draft picks.

FROM HOUSTON & TO SEATTLE
C Hakeem Olajuwon ($16,700,000)
2001 First-Round Draft Pick
2001 First-Round Draft Pick (Via The Milwaukee Bucks)

FROM SEATTLE & TO HOUSTON
PF Vin Baker ($10,130,000)
SG Brent Barry ($4,320,000)

Within this scenario, Ewing and Olajuwon would’ve been the frontline starters — with Ewing handling the low-post and Olajuwon manning the high-post — while splitting time with their respective backups, Jelani McCoy and Ruben Patterson, who’d've brought youth and athleticism off of the bench. Rookie third-stringers Olumide Oyedeji and Ruben Wolkowyski would’ve rounded out the frontcourt.

Due to Barry’s departure, that’d've unfortunately catapulted Shammond Williams into the starting lineup. Thankfully, however, Gary Payton’s size, playmaking prowess, and defensive fortitude would’ve compensated for Williams’ numerous deficiencies and, moreover, allowed the undersized off guard to focus mostly on putting up points.

At any rate, the objective of my ostensibly crazy plan would’ve been to use Ewing and Olajuwon as short-term stopgaps at the pivot — which may or may not have saved Paul Westphal’s job, but that’s neither here nor there — and, more importantly, cut approximately $30 million in salary after the season.

[Yet, rather than make a play for a first-rate unrestricted free-agent in Chris Webber during the 2001 off-season], Walker and Rick Sund would’ve probably not only blown that salary cap space on Booth, but also Marc Jackson. That, without question, would’ve been one of the worst frontcourt duos in NBA history.

All right, that’s enough dwelling upon absurd hypotheticals for one morning.
"

http://sonicscentral.com/blog/?p=1548

Anyhow, as it concerns the 2008 NBA Finals, an inferior interior defense and pitiful rebouding numbers are absolutely killing the Los Angeles Lakers. At this rate, the Boston Celtics will either sweep the series or, in all likelihood, win it in six games.

All right, despite Lamar Odom's transformation into a solid third option this season, Mitch Kupchak should seriously consider trading him -- in conjuction with Vladimir Radmanovic, who's skill set doesn't mesh well with the Triangle Offense -- for someone who's a stout man-to-man and weakside defender in the paint. That someone could be Jermaine O'Neal.

Although O'Neal has a gigantic salary, a long history of knee problems, and a knack for being an inefficient mid-range jump shooter on offense, he'd nevertheless form a formidable rotation down on the Lakers' frontline -- along with Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Ronny Turiaf -- next season—so long as none of them is sidelined for awhile with any major injuries.

While a trade of Odom and Radmanovic being dealt from the Lakers to the Indiana Pacers for O'Neal would possess its undeniable risks, the possible rewards are of a much greater significance. All things considered, though, it's highly unlikely such a transaction will occur during the upcoming off-season; however, there's no disputing that it'd be an earth-shattering move.

Brandon said...

AK1984:

Rings w/o Shaq carrying his whiney ass: 0

Rapes: At least 1

It's just statistics.

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