Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I'm all amped up about J.R. Smith. It's mainly because he's on my fantasy team, and I need him to do well, but I actually drafted him in the final round of my league two years ago, when he was a rookie. I've liked him from the start. I'm looking at what he's been doing lately, and it seems that the 21 year old is on the verge of breaking out. The Nuggets may have fleeced the Bulls, and the Bulls may have fleeced the Hornets. It's one of those things that makes you a little sick when you think of it, but imagine that Smith turns out to be great and then remember that Byron Scott basically booted him because he was young, cocky, and a little stupid. He could have paired with Chris Paul for 15 years as a dynamite backcourt. He'll look pretty good next to Carmelo Anthony as it is. For the hell of it, let's look at what a few other players did in their 3rd season, while playing around 30 minutes at SG. *Ray Allen's numbers are his rookie stats, when he was also 21. He jumped out of the box with major minutes from day one.

J.R. Smith(21) (16.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 3.0 3PG)

Ray Allen(21*) (13.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.4 3PG)
Michael Redd(23) (15.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 2.2 3PG)
Kobe Bryant(20) (19.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.5 3PG)
Tracy McGrady(21) (15.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.9 BPG!, 0.2 3PG)

By taking this small sample, it appears as though Smith is more in the mold of Ray Allen and Michael Redd, as I suspected. He is more athletic than either of them, and would seem to resemble McGrady more, but his game is not as dynamic. He doesn't attack the rim, or crash the boards. He does get his steals and shoots the lights out of the three. He also looks a bit like Eddie Jones or Morris Peterson when they broke into the league. Most of the players who play this particular style have entered a bit later, as they probably lacked the dynamic quality to be thought of as highly as Kobe or T-Mac. Michael Redd is that kind of player as well. He was a standout at Ohio State, but not nearly as highly regarded as a guy like Ray Allen, who was an NCAA Player of the Year. Now Redd is in Allen's class, and fills it up on a nightly basis.

I see a Redd/Allen type player emerging in Smith, and the Nuggets have wisely given him the minutes he deserves. If you look at his first two seasons, he produced some big nights when given the time. In his rookie 2004-05 season, at the age of 19, Smith started 56 games and had twelve 20+ point games (one over 30) and eleven games in which he hit 3 or more three pointers. In his sophmore campaign, Smith found himself in Byron Scott's doghouse and only started 25 games. He had two games of 20 points or more, and five games of 3 three pointers or more. After having played more than 30 minutes 26 times in his rookie season, Scott tried his best to ruin a talented young guy that just needed to make his mistakes on the floor. He played 30+ minutes on only 5 occasions last season, and almost not at all for the last 2 months of the year.

This season, in 9 games, J.R. has played 30+ in five of the first 8 games, and has a 21 point outburst to go with his more recent 36. The only time he's failed to score at least 16 points were two occasions that George Karl was trying to send him a message. To his credit, Karl is giving him a long rope and putting up with the flakey moments that leave a coach shaking his head. It seems the Bulls got two second round picks and Howard Eisley for a guy that could be Michael Redd or Ray Allen in two or three years. Time will tell, but it's time to start watching J.R. Smith.

Mr. East

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mr. West's Money

I admit ... I have a gambling problem. My problem is that I don't gamble on sports, namely the NBA. Distrustful of online gambling and stuck in NYC, sports betting is literally thousands of miles from me. But the one thing I believe I am good at is picking how well NBA teams will do over the course of the season: wins and losses.

Taking $10,000 imaginary dollars, let's place these following bets:

Celtics: 36.5 wins
UNDER- second easiest bet, no fucking way do these kids win more games than last year in a more competitive East. I also foresee one Paul Pierce injury for 8-10 games sinking this team fully).

Pistons: 50.5 wins
OVER- they won 64 last year. Is Ben Wallace worth 14 games by himself? No.)

Warriors: 37 wins
UNDER- oh please, this team has no idea how to win ballgames in a strong West).

Rockets: 47.5
UNDER- too many injuries I predict and they only won 34 games last year)

Clippers: 47
OVER- oh yes, they will exceed 47 wins, heck, they won 47 last year alone)

Utah: 40.5

OVER- easily will exceed 40 wins with a healthy line-up or any line-up this year)

Wizards: 40 wins
OVER- hoping they will win north of 40 as they kept the same line-up and should mildly improve).

Easiest route is to place $5,000 on the Celtics to win less than 37 wins and for the Jazz to win more than 40. I need a sugardaddy.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

We're Baaaaaaaack!!!

Yes, yes y’all. It’s time for the revival. East versus West is back for the 2006-2007 season and better than ever!!!! Well….we’re basically the same as before, but that wasn’t terrible. We’re…….back. Ahem.

Mr. West: Every year, all the experts and hacks and now blogging goofballs make their predictions. But what you don’t see is what their track record is for picks. It's almost as if their predictions are more important than the reality of their analysis. Take Sports Illustrated, for example, they generally suck at picking in the pre-season. So here is our posting form last year's predictions, for the record. Sure, I correctly picked the Heat to win it all but we also both thought the Rockets would fare better. We wish more experts would print reality with their thoughts in predictions.

Mr East: West and I are ready to break down the season preview for you from our twisted but smarter than the paid professionals opinions. In the end, we’ll be wrong more than we’re right, but so are they. We just don’t make you pay for “Insider” access….yet. So with no further ado, let’s get this thing kicked off.

NBA 2006-2007 Playoff Teams

Mr. East

1. Miami Heat
2. Detroit Pistons
3. New Jersey Nets
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
6. Washington Wizards
7. Philadelphia 76ers
8. Indiana Pacers

Conference Finals: Pistons over Heat

1. Phoenix Suns
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Dallas Mavericks
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Utah Jazz
6. Denver Nuggets
7. Los Angeles Clippers
8. Houston Rockets

Conference Finals: Suns over Spurs

Finals: Suns over Pistons

Mr. West

1. Detroit Pistons
2. Miami Heat
3. Chicago Bulls
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. New Jersey Nets
6. Washington Bullets
7. Indiana Pacers
8. Orlando Magic

Conference Finals: Heat over Pistons

1. San Antonio Spurs
2. Dallas Mavericks
3. Phoenix Suns
4. Los Angeles Clippers
5. Los Angeles Lakers
6. Utah Jazz
7. Denver Nuggets
8. Houston Rockets

Conference Finals: Spurs over Mavericks

Finals: Spurs over Heat

Eastern Conference Preview

Atlantic Division
New Jersey Nets

The Nets are lucky to be in one of the weakest divisions in basketball. It’s not that they’re a mediocre team, they’re very good, but they should run away with a playoff spot. Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson are enough to make them very tough if everyone is healthy.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics make no sense. They have good players, but they all play the same positions. Telfair, West, Rondo. Pierce, Szczerbiak. Jefferson, Gomes.….Too young, too little playing time for all the talented parts. No playoffs, but close.

New York Knicks

You’ll hear plenty about these guys at EvW this season. I’m a fan and I want Zeke and Dolan out on their asses. This team is all window dressing. Some good players, both vets and kids, but no direction, bad coaching, no cap flexibility, and where’s the defense? Another wasted year at the Garden.

Philadelphia 76ers

I like the Sixers more than most. Some people think they’re a bad fit. Health is as important to this team as any other in the league, but Iverson is as much a soldier as he is a scorer. Iggy, Korver, Dalembert, Ollie, and Webber should make them well rounded. I see playoffs, and some good basketball on both ends of the floor.

Toronto Raptors

Blow this franchise up. They will never, ever, be good. They are clueless, and terrible to watch every year. Bad uniforms, bad players, bad management, bad arena. They hurt my eyes, man. I need to look away. Bosh should have bolted when he had the chance.

Central Division
Chicago Bulls

I like the Bulls. I mean, as a Knicks fan I’ll always hate the Bulls, but I like this group. They can play. The addition of Ben Wallace will make them super tough. They’ve been trying to get by with some real stiffs in the middle for years, while their other young guys have been getting better. I don’t know where the offense is going to come from, outside Ben Gordon, but it hardly matters when you won’t score either.

Detroit Pistons

Until somebody comes along and beats this team, they will always be my favorite to win it all in the East. The core pieces are great together, and even missing Big Ben they figure to put a hurting on the opposition. Mohammed is solid, if unspectacular, but he’ll get the job done. I bet Larry Brown is kicking himself. Jackass.

Cleveland Cavs

LeBron is overhyped. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great, but he’s overhyped. At the ripe young age of 21 he’s not Michael Jordan. He’s still getting his shit together. The rest of the team is solid, but really a bunch of “has beens” and “never will bes”. Who is going to help LeBron? Ilgauskas? Hughes? Damon Jones? Gooden? Ilgauskas is good, but you can have the rest of the roster.

Indiana Pacers

These guys are my final playoff team in the East. It could all blow up, but I’m still picking them. Tinsley and O’Neal are walking wounded. Stephen Jackson is a less interesting version of Ron Artest. Granger is about the only guy you feel good about cheering for in the club. They are talented when healthy and mentally stable, so you have to think they have a shot at the postseason, but only a slight shot.

Milwaukee Bucks

I hate the Bucks. They’re just so blah. Milwaukee isn’t a city that inspires dreams of lofty things. Happy Days ended in the early 80s, and it should have ended when Chachi hit puberty. Mo Williams is very good. Redd is excellent. They did a nice job bringing in Villanueva. The rest…..not so much. Please go away.

Miami Heat

The Heat are the team you love to hate. Talented but aging veterans that like to chuck, plus one stellar young Hall of Famer in the making. Wade is a transcendent talent, who fronts the likes of Jason Williams, Antoine Walker, James Posey, and Sheriff Shaquille O’Neal. How this team won the championship is beyond me. It shows the difference between the postseason and the long, brutal regular season. They’ll be at the top again, but I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell that they’ll win it.

Southeast Division
Washington Wizards

The Wiz are a fun bunch. Arenas is a blur, and every bit as good as any other guard in the league. Jamison is much better than you think. Caron Butler is an ideal #3 guy. The bench is solid, and there are enough quality role players to build on. They really need one more good player to take it to the next level, but they will easily qualify for the playoffs. Too bad they have a stupid nickname. Bring back the Bullets.

Orlando Magic

The future is now…..actually the future is the future. These guys aren’t ready, but they are going places. Jameer Nelson is one of my favorite all-time NCAA players, and should be very strong as a full time starter. Dwight “Manchild” Howard will continue to get better. The problem is, why is Grant Hill even on the team? Turkoglu? Okay, but an ideal 6th Man. Get these guys a little more firepower and they’ll hit the top of the Conference in 3 or 4 years. Not now though.

Atlanta Hawks

Ugh. Toronto South. Blow this team up. Even people in Atlanta can’t stand them. They are better than the results, but they’ll never be good. Claxton? Josh Smith? Childress? Marvin Williams? Zaza? Not a top tier player in the bunch. There’s barely a second tier player in the bunch. Plus those uniforms. Where is Dominique?

Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats have some players. Not very good ones, but they have players. I like to kid the Bobcats. Felton will be above average this year. Knight is a nice pace-setter. Wallace does a lot of things on the court. Okafor is now being underrated. Finally, Sean May will have a surprising impact this season. Watch. They may actually crack 20 wins. I’m not sure why there’s a team in Charlotte, but at least they have nice uniforms…..uh….yeah.

Western Conference Preview:

SouthWest Division
San Antonio Spurs

The predictably boring ones are back to win a lot of games and threaten to win the rings. Does an added year help or hurt the Spurs? It should hurt the oldies like Finley and Van Exel. It should help the newbies like Tony Parker and Jackie Butler. But it is all about Duncan and Ginobili this year. All that matters is playoffs for this crew.

Dallas Mavericks

Dirk & Co. showed everyone they were for real when they beat the Spurs then fought the Heat (and the refs) tough. They are officially in the upper echelon of NBA teams that only care about the playoffs. Interesting to see if Devin Harris becomes a better point guard or if Diop can develop a tolerable game at center. Dirk is the man, of that there is no doubt.

Houston Rockets

Even the slow, hindering coaching of Jeff Van Gundy should not be able to derail Yao and McGrady from getting to the playoffs. The Rockets style allows for little flexibility but backups like Bonzi Wells will be crucial as McGrady’s frailty will again be an issue; he needs to toughen up and mature. A brutal Western Conference will keep Houston from achieving too much, as will the stuck-in-1994 coaching of Van Gundy.

New Orleans/OKC Hornets

Last year’s Cinderella all of a sudden have hefty expectations with the additions of Peja and Tyson Chandler. Of course, Peja is on a major downtrend in his career and Chandler can’t earn himself playing time while both have yet to prove they will change a team’s fortune. The Hornets will rely on youngsters Chris Paul and David West, as they should. Paul is a flat out fucking stud who makes Atlanta residents cry daily.

Memphis Grizzlies

No Pau, no playoffs. The overachieving Grizzlies have the patchwork but not the hardcore talent to overcome losing Pau. Average-at-best tweeners like rookie Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick offer very little while big men such as Swift play their typical roles. Sadly, if they were in the East, they would contend for the playoffs, not out West this year. Basically, this is one team too many in the NBA.

Northwest Division
Utah Jazz

The name is Sloan, Jerry Sloan. And unless a rash of injuries hits (which is very possible given the past), the Jazz should push 50 wins this year. Their starting 5 is solid with some great versatility courtesy of AK-47. Deron Williams should get better, but as long as he is good enough to pass, that should be good enough. The range of Mehmet Okhur helps them a ton.

Denver Nuggets

Carmelo changed minds with his play this summer. He is going to look to tear shit up this year. Won’t help is the constant breaking down of his big 3: K-Mart, Camby and Nene. Also, JR Smith being a reliable shooting guard borders on comic relief. But the Nuggets and Karl know how to win so they’ll be OK.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Enough of the “poor Kevin Garnett” talk. The T-Wolves won’t make the playoffs, again, tough luck. Mike James will help fill the rim and dish out some assists but besides a sometimes sketchy Ricky Davis, this team is too thin. When you actually rely on people like Eddie Griffin you know you are hurting. PS- never carpool with Griffin unless you like re-enacting Silence of the Lambs prison scene.

Seattle Supersonics

The team is destined for Oklahoma so the new owners basically let everything stay in place: shitty coach, mediocre unit, and yet another center prospect drafted. The Sonics defy reality and try again to find a seven-footer to save them at the expense of getting true talent. The ghost of Jack Sikma haunts them, clearly. A lot of Ray Allen, a little of Rashard Lewis and little else. I’d at least go get Shawn Kemp for giggles.

Portland Trailblazers

They almost fully blew the team up. Except for their two most troublesome (and talented) players, Randolph and Miles. Like the Sonics, they somehow feel 3 seven-footers is the key to the future, indicating the Pacific Northwest might as well be in China as the rest of the NBA goes small. Rookie Roy is the hot talk of the town. Sure, anyone remember a kid named Martell Webster who had the same tag last year? The forgiving Portland fans better forgive some more.

Pacific Divison
Phoenix Suns

God bless them. They were a fresh of breath air and now they are helping to change the NBA with their style of play. Of course, few can pull it off like Nash and Marion and Diaw, and it makes those players better than they typically would be. Amare does not look fully repaired; he should be shelved until All-Star break.

Los Angeles Clippers

The suddenly respected and solid Clips rise up the ranks some more this year. Brand is the best power forward in the league, Kaman holds his own, and the rest of the cast can do their thing. The veteran swagger of Mobley and Cassell worked last year, now let’s see if guys like Livingston can run with it.

Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe has entered the next stratosphere. Now he just has to learn how to make a team win more, which looks to be too hard a task so far for his insecure style. With no new talent coming in and seemingly none developed (what, you thought Kwame Brown or Andrew Bynum could play basketball?- ha!) the Lakers will bank on getting better simply by playing more together. I doubt Kobe can stop being a dick.

Sacramento Kings

Oh, the poor Kings and their rabid fans have yet to recover from the 2002 playoffs series loss vs. the Lakers. This year, the downward slide continues as overbearing new coach Musselman replaces an experienced and proven winner in Rick Adleman. Perhaps ownership felt a new coach would turn things around but clearly this is a semi-OK team losing ground to the competition in terms of talent.

Golden State Warriors

At least Oakland should have some fun this year with Don Nelson back in charge. Lord knows the Warriors can’t win ballgames with this squad so you might as well play with a smile. The backcourt of Baron Davis and J-Rich have, between them, never figured out how to win. Mike Dunleavy, meanwhile, can only hope his coach never figures he can’t play. We can only hope they aim to score 110 points a night.