Ian and Tony Take On the NBA, Part 8

by Ian Kollar

ioxjye9im9phdgfyfxvj1xb7110. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (Last year’s record: 19-63)

Blake Griffin, once he finally gets out onto the court, will make this team less unbearable to watch. Second-year shooting guard Eric Gordon has improved steadily but is also dealing with injuries, while no one can ever be sure the likes of Baron Davis and Marcus Camby can make it through 82 games without falling apart. Still, a team with this many question marks might still be better than the bottom-feeders of the West in 2009-10 because they have actual talent.

act_eric_gordonNo, Ricky Davis and Sebastian Telfair don’t count. Nor does coach/GM Mike Dunleavy.

Aside from the walking wounded I already mentioned, Craig Smith brings great energy to the frontcourt, Al Thornton can score in a variety of ways (though he is best served off the bench), Rasual Butler can shoot and play both swing spots and Chris Kaman, whether anyone wants to believe it or not, is playing like a top 5 center so far despite his gross amount of turnovers. Once Griffin and Gordon are healthy (hopefully at the same time), I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team string together a near-.500 record with them on the court. The problem, though, is that they may be 10 games under .500 before that happens.   Continue reading “Ian and Tony Take On the NBA, Part 8”

Ian and Tony Take On the NBA, Part 5

by Ian Kollar

shaq_cheatsheetI actually didn’t find picking the top 5 very hard. It is pretty clear-cut in my mind that the best four teams are Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland and Orlando in no particular order. Miami might fall and Chicago, Philadelphia or Washington could take their place, but that’s neither here nor there.

This is about contenders.

There are only three legitimate teams primed to compete for the title in each conference. Barring freak injuries or mid-season blockbuster trades, that isn’t going to change. Some teams are willing to take the year off and wait to reap the riches of next offseason; others are hungry but just aren’t there yet. The teams that were at the top last year are back again this year, and have used a variety of ways to improve (or so they think). If the moves pay dividends, the Larry O’Brien Trophy may be back on the East Coast before long.   Continue reading “Ian and Tony Take On the NBA, Part 5”

Ian and Tony Take on the NBA, Part 3

by Ian Kollar

2995Touché, Tony. I think we owe some good ol’ war stories before this whirlwind week of previews is over. By the way, could I call you by your true basketball name, T.O.? Okay, so only I called you that, but still. I shouldn’t talk since I was never the WAZL Player of the Game like you, though.

Anyway, here’s where the previews get a bit cloudy. This group is one where you could probably roll dice or pick logos out of a hat or something and come up with 10-6 in any order. A lot of these previews have to do with health. One injury to a key player could screw everything up and it seems to do that every year, so keep your eyes peeled. Meanwhile, there are some old faces in new places – Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in the Motor City, Mike Miller and Randy Foye in Washington, Hedo Turkoglu in Toronto. How these players mesh with teams who all contended last year (except for the Wizards) remains to be seen, but that’s why the season is 82 games long.   Continue reading “Ian and Tony Take on the NBA, Part 3”

A Lesson in Futility: Why Are the Pirates So Bad, So Often?

by Ian Kollar

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently checked themselves into the book of baseball infamy by losing to the Chicago Cubs over Labor Day weekend. The 4-2 loss Monday catapulted them into the record books by confirming what was inevitable since opening day: the 17th consecutive losing season by the franchise.   Continue reading “A Lesson in Futility: Why Are the Pirates So Bad, So Often?”

Trade “Deadline”: Why Holding onto Halladay Should Cost Ricciardi his Job

by Ian Kollar

The Toronto Blue Jays’ self-imposed deadline for trading ace pitcher Roy Halladay passed a few days ago, and the MLB-imposed one less than a day ago, yet the man fans call “Doc” will still be suiting up in gray and blue – emphasis on blue – for the rest of the 2009 baseball season.   Continue reading “Trade “Deadline”: Why Holding onto Halladay Should Cost Ricciardi his Job”