Coach, first I have to say, nice call on Byron Scott. Yes, at least one of us knows what he’s talking about.
On that note, I’m going to disagree with the rest of your assessment of the Hornets. I’ve already made my affinity for a good one-two-three punch clear, so it should come as no surprise that I’m excited to see what Okafor can add to the Paul-West combo. I think Okafor is an improvement on Chandler in defense, and I think Posey still has a year of solid defense in him. It’s not a championship-winning combo by any means, and so I too feel bad for Chris Paul. He’s one of the few players in the league that you can build a team around, and there are only 5 or so players with that special brand of all-around talent in the NBA at any given time. (The other ones right now? I’d say LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Garnett. I’m tempted to add Carmelo Anthony to the list, but let’s wait to see what he does this year. Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan used to be in that category, but Shaq could do more with less than Duncan. In any event, they’re both past that point now.) From my parenthetical remarks, it’s obvious that the key part of that sentence is build a team, as Wade hasn’t been able to reach the top without Shaq and Garnett needed Pierce and Allen. No matter how much I’m looking forward to the Hornets this year, David West and Emeka Okafor are no Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. I’ll bump them up to #7, but no further. Continue reading “Ian and Tony Take On the NBA, Part 9”
by Ian Kollar
10. 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.
No, 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”