Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cadillac Mescallade: NBA Preview, 30 Dishes & Wishes (Part II)

The 2009-2010 NBA Season is upon us and this is an exciting time. What will the Knicks do to make NYC more attractive for LeBron? How many points will Vince Carter average now that he’s been traded again? When will Dan Dickau retire? These are all questions that may be answered this season. In honor of my vocabulary sensei Walt "Clyde" Frazier, I present 30 “dishes and wishes” on this NBA Season. There is no rhyme or reason to the order of these teams, I leave that to other previews. That said I think the Magic are looking strong this year. Now on to it.

Yesterday: Cadillac Mescallade: NBA Preview, 30 Dishes & Wishes (Part I)

16. Washington Wizards

Dish: Let’s welcome back Gilbert Arenas from a pesky injury that took the gusto out of Agent Zero. Nothing new here in that Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison have filled the void nicely in his absence but still the Wiz have struggled. If Arenas can be even half himself this could be a pretty ridiculous offensive team. JaVale McGee is exciting to watch, he is a rare seven footer that gives you the idea he is still jumping pretty high, kind of like Dwight Howard. Let’s not forget Flip Saunders as the new coach, he tends to make squads pretty good.

Wish: First, more use of the Bullets jerseys. I get why they were ditched because wizards don’t kill people, bullets kill people. Point taken, now bring them on back. Also it’s time to retire Manute Bol’s uniform. Perhaps this should fall on the Warriors where “Nootie” had some of his top seasons but we can all remember the bol-tender in those daisy duke Bullets shorts. So lets pick a game that doesn’t mean much and hoist the old #10 high into the sky.

17. Indiana Pacers

Dish: Knicks fans take small solace in the fact that while they have struggled so have the Pacers. Annually vying for most white guys per capita on their roster, they have turned the trick again this year with a bevy of talented Caucasians. We all look forward to a line up featuring Travis Hansbrough, Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy, Josh McRoberts, and Travis Diener. The Pacers may have the most notable names squad for college hoops fans. Outside of maybe Foster I’d say every name on this team is known decently well from their college days. Oh excuse me on Solomon Jones, so there is two people.

Wish: I have a wish for all Georgetown centers to excel but recently it has been a letdown as Mike Sweetney never really panned out even though he somehow had his own sneaker. With that in mind we look in the general direction of Roy Hibbert. Can this man become a dominant shotblocking force in the NBA? Will they allow him to wear his t-shirt under his jersey? Why does the NBA care if people wear t-shirts? Anyway it’d be neat if he became a nice 10-10 guy this season, he was in the 7-3 range last year.

18. San Antonio Spurs

Dish: Just when you thought they were done, they continue to live on and do it well. Quite an amazing retooling in the offseason that saw the Spurs add Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess while also grabbing DeJuan Blair via last springs draft. Oh yeah and they still have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and a potentially fully healthy Manu Ginobili. They could be the team to beat coming out of the West.

Wish: DeJuan Blair and Hasheem Thabeet meet up again in the pros and get to mix it up. Few things were more enjoyable last college season than watching Blair toss Thabeet around like a child’s toy. Hasheem landed with Memphis and I just remembered as the second pick (really?) so these two teams will see each other often.

19. Memphis Grizzlies

Dish: As just mentioned Thabeet was the top draft pick but the big chatter was the addition of Allen Iverson. It seems as if Iverson landing in Memphis was kind of like T.O. landing with the Buffalo Bills. We were told both had a lot of other options but then they ended up in Memphis and Buffalo. Luckily for AI they haven’t whacked any offensive coordinators yet. Rudy Gay is a heck of a talent and is good for a sportscenter dunk once a week while OJ Mayo should keep filling it up. Keep an eye out for Sam Young, a deceiving leaper.

Wish: AI just blows up this season and reverts back to All-Star form. There are enough doubters to fill a fleet of cruise ships so a success for Iverson will be debatable. Is it getting the Griz near the playoffs or just Iverson playing well again? Obviously Iverson is looking to boost himself and command some better cash down the line as his career winds down. He finds himself in a bit of a Shaq role, a guy who is used to being the big dog but now has to play nice with everyone else in the sandbox. To be continued.

20. Dallas Mavericks

Dish: The names look solid here with J-Kidd, Dirk, and Jason Terry. Now add in some Shawn Marion spice and this has the potential of a very fun team. Say what you want about Kidd losing a step on the defensive end, I’d still rather have him quarterbacking my team over many others. On a long enough timeline it’s not what you do but sometimes what you know and this guy knows how to run a break and get people involved. Dirk is good to fill it up and Terry will bomb from deep. Will Kidd and Marion reincarnate some of the old Suns fast breaks where Marion just runs around like a maniac and dunks, I hope so.

Wish: You could collect a bunch of jerseys through Mitchell and Ness or you could be Tim Thomas who tends to bounce around just a bit. Without any research I know of the Mavericks, Suns, Knicks, Bucks and 76ers. Anyway even though he had some injuries this preseason this guy is always an enigma to be me because he is very talented. Great size, can shoot from outside and has some other solid skills. I guess my wish is just a consistent 82 game season from this guy where he reaches full capacity of 17ppg and 8 rpg.

21. Sacramento Kings

Dish: So you look at the Kings and the question is, who is their best player? It’s probably Kevin Martin and while I am thrilled Martin has worked himself into a position where he can be the best player on an NBA team, this is just not a good sign for an NBA franchise. The Kings have some nice pieces but will likely need some serious overachieving from a host of guys to be competitive and that is not a situation you ever want to be in.

Wish: Of course the Jersey guy is a focus, I speak of Rider’s Jason Thompson. I was as I imagine Jason himself was, surprised at him getting drafted as high as he did. I’m glad it happened though because it meant guaranteed contract and a guaranteed chance for a small college guy to really make an impact. He had a solid rookie year of 11 and 7 and could be primed for a nice little boost. Quick note on Jersey guys, can anyone stop Miles Austin? Guy is on fire right now.

22. Portland Trail Blazers

Dish: The Blazers are like this guy at a party who was eying this one girl all night. It appeared that the deal was sealed then right as everything was winding down some clown stumbled in who the girl just was totally smitten by and swooped the girl away. The original guy was bummed but he has his heart set on some action so he was making something happen no matter what. This describes how Andre Miller landed in Portland after Turk-o-lew left with that other dude (Raptors). Miller could be a nice choice if Greg “Jenga” Oden gets things cooking and Brandon Roy keeps doing what he does, that’s a nice group right there.

Wish: Greg Oden gets it going. By all accounts and commercials this guy is a really nice person and just seems to be a modern day Bill Walton, betrayed by his own body. Perhaps was too much hype placed on him because he has had a beard since seventh grade. Hey, it happens. But now has he heads towards his redshirt sophomore year in the NBA it is time for him to get it going and I hope he does. I don’t want the world, just double figure points and rebounds and some blocked shots, I think that is fair.

23. Oklahoma City Thunder

Dish: A super young team on the rise they have taken the approach of the youth movement just stockpiling an under 25 crowd that will hopefully put them in the mix in a few years. Durant speaks for himself and I’m a Jeff Green fan. I also like the pick up James Harden, he is that type of guy that always seems to be not going all that fast and then before you know it he has scored on you. FYI – I found Shaun Livingston and he is on the Thunder. This team is just going to sniff eighth place for a little while until the rest of this group can develop. I could see them at some point in the next couple of years getting close and then adding a veteran to help the young group over the top.

Wish: Hopeful that Durant doesn’t get bummed with the losing years with the Thunder and hangs in there for what could be a bright future. He’ll get a chance to leave some point but it looks like they are doing things in a smart fashion in Oklahoma City and hopefully they can keep adding pieces. Also Head Coach Scott Brooks is the Knicks point guard from the 90s you likely don’t remember but it’d be nice to see the former UC-Irvine Anteater get a shot to mold this young group into something more than just a highlight reel.

24. Charlotte Bobcats

Dish: Larry Brown continues with the reclamation project in Charlotte. Part of me thinks he is actually upset with himself for assisting in the devastation of the Knicks and would like to redeem his coaching career. I can understand that. He has a roster of mostly young guys anchored by Gerald Wallace. Has expansion hoops done anymore for anyone in the history of hoops than what the Bobcats did for Wallace? Let’s discuss a guy that was a role player at best for the Sacramento Kings, went to Charlotte and instantly became a starter and big scorer. His career always amazes me.

Wish: Gerald Henderson is part of a new 8-man field at the NBA Slam Dunk contest. This person can jump pretty high and had (please watch this) . He is a talented player as well and I don’t want to make it out like all he does is jam but let’s get some more people in this dunk contest. Enough with the four people, expand it, I don’t care if some people miss or try dumb ideas, let’s just see more people.

25. Chicago Bulls

Dish: Every now and again a number one pick is just legit. Shaq, Duncan, LeBron to name a few. There are many more examples, settle down. Rose is just the latest, the guy is a phenomenal point guard. Does anyone have doubts this guy is the starter on the 2016 Olympic team if he wants it. I have no doubt. By then he’ll have stacked up a ton of All-Star games and who knows an MVP perhaps? Some other nice pieces here including John Salmons and a hopefully healthy Luol Deng. I feel for Kirk Hinrich as he really never did anything wrong he just happened to be on a team that drafted Derrick Rose.

Wish: Joakim Noah gets a shot attempt swatted into the upper deck at the United Center. I like this guy’s energy and his hustle but he is that type of player that makes shots that makes you say “that shouldn’t go in, this guy looks ridiculous.” With that in mind it would just be nice to see someone rocket his shot into the seats just to keep him humble so he doesn’t do any of that dumb posing after a good play. Also the Bulls treat Jerome James like the human “Old Maid” and try and pass him off without the recipient noticing.

26. Atlanta Hawks

Dish: Not since the days of Nique, Kevin “elbow pads” Willis, Jon Koncak, Mookie Blaylock, Craig Ehlo, and Ennis Whatley have the Atlanta Hawks been this relevant. Mike Bibby has had a wonderful resurgence on this team and I could see him putting up another five years plus in the league at this current rate of production. The question is does the rest of the group along with Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Horford and the rest have enough to get past the Magic, Cavs, Celtics and whoever else. I think yes, just not this year.

Wish: Atlanta does what it must to keep this nucleus together. You look at the opposition and maybe outside of Orlando the Hawks have the most youthful nucleus to protect for the future. Sometimes it isn’t your time to win and that could be the Hawks deal for the next season or two but the Celtics won’t have the big three forever, the Cavs could dissolve and this will leave room to grow.

27. Detroit Pistons

Dish: The Pistons had some cash and the had to spend it, and they did. Welcome Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Villanueva brings his tweeting ways to Mo-Town while Gordon is a great motor guy (I’m low on adjectives). The question is, much like in the late 90s when the Knicks signed Allan Houston and Chris Childs, will these men make the big difference. I feel the answer is no and that must be frustrating. The Pistons take the steps to clear the cap space and then don’t get great value for their dollar. Stuckey and Hamilton are great building blocks along with this group and the Pistons will be in the playoff mix but that is about it.

Wish: The Pistons arena announcer gets his own reality show where he works at a fast food drive thru using that same voice. I believe his name is Mason, put him in the window at an Arby’s and just let the cameras roll. His enthusiasm would increase sales 200 percent and then there would be something to put on NBA TV at 2am instead of a fantasy show.

28. Philadelphia 76ers

Dish: It’s time for Elton Brand to start earning that new contract. Some feel it might be karma for spurning the Clippers as an explanation as for why he has yet to get on track in Philly. I think he probably just got unlucky and was hurt. Igoudala is a great running mate for Brand and provided they are both healthy this team should definitely be in the mix come playoff time. They might also get something from Jrue don’t call me Drew Holiday, out of UCLA.

Wish: The Sixers play half of their games on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. People in that part of the state have a huge identity crisis believing they are from Philadelphia and or Pennsylvania and it would be nice to further the myth. Also this would add some new spice to AC and just kickstart a string of rampant illegal point shaving and sports betting on location. Kind of like when AC hosts the Men’s A-10 tournament only times 10.

29. Orlando Magic

Dish: This team more or less traded Turk-o-lew (third mention) for Vince Carter and it could make them very strong. Everybody knows that when Vince Carter gets traded it’s like he’s been rejuvenated. You ever been outside in 100 degree weather and than walk into an air conditioned room that is so cold but you feel so good. That’s how Vince feels when he gets traded, he feels so good, and he’s going to show everyone how good he feels. Also Howard, a healthy Nelson, and Lewis make a for a great unity. Finally is anyone as excited as me that Jason Williams is back in the NBA. No not the guy from Duke, and no not the guy from the Nets, the other one, the flashy point guard formerly of the Kings. This guy was so much fun to watch so I really hope he can find a place on this team. With the trade of Courtney Lee to the Nets, hopefully that back up point guard spot is up for grabs and J-Will can be all over it.

Wish: I was flipping around the tv the other day and saw this jam by Vince. He drove baseline pumped and threw it down with ease and it led me to think, he needs to go back to the dunk contest. I know, I know he can never top what he did in Oakland but while he’s in a good mood and still with some gas in the tank lets let him tear away along with Birdman, Gerald Henderson and five other to be named dunkers. This will never happen but we can always dream.

30. Boston Celtics

Dish: “The Big Ticket” Kevin Garnett is back in action after a year hurt by injuries. Add him to the other members of the big three in Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and you have the key guys from the NBA title of two years back. Now add in the “Big Variable” in Rasheed Wallace and this can really make things interesting. Wallace is the type of guy that could have had a couple of MVP trophies under his belt if he was so inclined but never decided to use that talent that way. He has instead made use of lambasting officials and giving out amazing quotes. Still he joins pretty much a read made meal here in the Celtics and there is no reason why this veteran group can’t march their way to the Finals.

Wish: Rajon Rondo gets a solid jump shot. Rondo’s development has been amazing, he has become a nice leader, a fearless driver, and a nifty passer. However his jumper is still severely suspect by NBA standards and everyone knows it. Not sure if he’s done some serious work on it in the offseason, god knows he hit the weight room, but as of last year teams would still play off him and almost dare him to shoot. That’s a livable situation for a starting center, but not for your starting point guard. It’ll be curious to see also how he responds to being moderately shopped this summer. Regardless he needs to hone that jumper.

Let the season begin!

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