A few months ago, we took a look at the All-2000s team and some of the other notable issues of the decade. Now ESPN.com is turning to the end of the decade and has its own poll of its burning questions of the 2000s. Just for fun, let’s run through our choices, as limited by ESPN’s ballot:
1) Which is the franchise of the decade?
We addressed this question in the summer and previously chose the Lakers, even though they weren’t as consistently good (the Spurs average 58 wins per season and the Lakers averaged 53). The tie breaker was that Spurs never could beat the Lakers when L.A. was at full strength. The Lakers destroyed the Spurs in the playoffs in 2000-01 and 2001-02, when both teams were at full strength. The Lakers also upset the Spurs in 2003-04 (on the crazy Derek Fisher shot), as well as in 2007-08, when the Lakers were clearly better. Still, there is some merit to the fact that the Spurs had no lulls like the Lakers did mid-decade. This is really a coin-flip but the fact that the Lakers were better at their peak makes me choose L.A.. Continue reading We Take ESPN’s 2000s Poll…
1. Taking Stock in Boston: As the standings start to sort themselves out in the NBA, it is clear that Boston is, once again, a serious title contender. With their current winning streak, the Celts are 20-4 and have the best record in the NBA and the best SRS rating, though Atlanta and the Lakers are very close. (Surprisingly, the Magic and Cavs are far behind these three in SRS). Boston has been winning, as they usually do, with suffocating defense. The Celts have the top defense in the NBA (99.4 efficiency) and are within shouting distance of their historic 2007-08 pace (98.9 defensive rating). An interesting question is whether the Celts can keep this defensive pace up. Last year, Boston started out quite hot (22-2) but tapered off to merely a very good defensive team, partly because of Kevin Garnett’s knee injury and partly because they could not possibly sustain such a hot start.
With an older team, there is a tendency to believe something similar could happen this year too. KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rasheed Wallace are all approaching 35. Let’s take a look at how hard Doc Rivers have been monitoring these four this season so far versus the past two years: Continue reading Quick Thoughts…
Golden State Warriors
11/20 Signed center Chris Hunter
Hunter is an NBDL call up for the Warriors. He was a decent role player in college at Michigan but has scored quite well in the NBDL (19 ppg last year). It’s not clear how good he will be but an active and cheap big man in his mid-20s is always worth as look. The Don Nelson Warriors are not the ideal place for a big man to break in but it is definitely better than playing in Fort Wayne.
New Jersey Nets
11/29 Fired Lawrence Frank and name Kiki Vandeweghe head coach
I was a bigger Frank fan than most. There were legitimate questions as to whether Frank was creative offensively but his teams almost usually played hard and were prepared. He also got about as much out of the talent as one would reasonably expect each season and survived crises pretty well. Frank did a nice job getting the team to compete during the whole Jason Kidd injury and Alonzo Mourning rebellion in 2004-05, the team-wide malaise in 2006-07, Kidd’s rebellion in 2007-08, and keeping the team in playoff contention with a very little in 2008-09. The only truly disappointing moment of significance was the Nets’ inability to hang with the Heat in the 2005-06 playoffs, when they were considered pretty equal in talent (the Heat lost Game 1 at home and blew away the Nets in the next four games). In retrospect, that wasn’t necessarily fair criticism but this was the only year the Frank Nets’ slightly underperformed (they probably should’ve taken the Heat six or seven games before losing). Continue reading Transactions: 11/18-12/8…
I thought today we could review the best deal in NBA history and a deal that might never end. We’re not talking about any sort of player transaction but the famed settlement agreement between the St. Louis Spirits and the NBA. Most basketball fans knows generally about this deal, namely that the owners of the Spirits were able to obtain a portion of NBA television revenue in perpetuity in exchange for Spirits’ agreement to fold as a team. This agreement has enabled the Spirits to collect large amounts of cash, as league revenues have continued to grow the last 30 years. Though a settlement agreement exists, the dispute between the parties is not actually totally settled. In fact, the Spirits are litigating with the NBA this very day, 33 years after settlement. Let’s review the 1977 deal from to give fans a little more perspective on how this deal has worked and why it has continued to be an issue now, over 30 years later.
In 1976, the NBA and various members of the ABA (New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs) were talking about a limited merger that would exclude the other ABA teams (Kentucky Colonels and the St. Louis Spirits). St. Louis ended up threatening to sue the ABA teams and the NBA based on various theories. The lawsuit was a double threat: it had some merit on its own terms and its presence complicated the NBA’s relationship with the players’ union, which had its own antitrust suit pending against the NBA. It would have been impossible to resolve the union’s lawsuit without also resolving St. Louis’ suit. In 1977, the settlements were finally reached of all disputes. The union received free agency, Kentucky received a one-time $3.3 million buyout, and the Spirits negotiated a slightly different deal, $3 million up front plus a portion of the merging ABA teams television revenues. Continue reading The NBA and the Spirits…