Welcome to the NBA Roundtable! This week the crew talk JR Smith going long, the Bucks maybe going longer, the Bobcats making playoffs, and the Pacers maybe not making a splash. Plus a LARRY SANDERS Question! This week we roll a full lineup with EJ, Bill, Zach, David and making her roundtable debut . . . Sandy
1. JR Smith set the NBA record for shooting 3 pointers in a Loss to the Heat. Reaction?
EJ (Shooting Guard):
Part of me wants to blast JR for being selfish, but Carmelo is nursing a shoulder injury and the Knicks lack scorers beyond Melo and JR. 22 3 pointers is a large amount but the Knicks are similar to the Duke Blue Devils: they live and die by the 3. When it falls that means they win, and when it doesn’t that means they lose by a large margin. Here’s hoping that the next head coach of the Knicks move the team away from it’s 3 point dependency.
Bill: He’s a gunner and all, but that was simply ridiculous. I mean, 22 – TWENTY TWO – shots taken from behind the three point line for a single player? Absolute nonsense. However, his ability to make a large portion of those shots is what kept the Knicks in the game, so I guess it was a wash. Had he continued to fire away yet miss most of his attempts, Smith would likely have found himself a warm spot on the bench and probably have found himself there the next game as well. As of today’s date (07 APR 14), the gap between the two teams is a mere two games. The Hawks have six games remaining and the Knicks have four. Stranger things have happened, but I just don’t see ATL losing their grip on the last spot. The Knicks had chances to gain ground on all of the other teams in the hunt but wasted those chances with untimely losses. At this point in the season, the Knicks are doing anything and everything they can outside of directly sabotaging the Hawks’ chartered jet in an effort to make the post season. No matter what the final outcome, Smith will keep shooting. That much is a guarantee.
Sandy: I think it would have been a better feat if he had gotten more of the shots, He also only got one 2pt basket, so I’m not really impressed, especially since his team lost. Maybe if he would have shot more 2 pt shots the would have had a chance to win.
Zach: I wouldn’t say impressed. I guess more like: every dog has his day. J.R. isn’t someone I’d have on my team, but he’s still a good player. Playing basketball all my life, I know there are some days you are just feelin’ it (for no apparent reason), and some days you couldn’t hit the rim if it was ten feet wide (again, for no apparent reason.) Nothing more, nothing less in my eyes.
David: Here is my problem: He went FOUR of EIGHT with open looks- If you are going to be a gunner- you have to hit all your treys when you are WIDE OPEN. There is no excuse for anyone who doesn’t average 6 boards a game to not drain every 3 they take when they are wide open. I know we think some players suck- but if you go 50% from 3? I can beat you in Horse. I should not be able to beat ANY non-center in any shooting competition.
2. Are the Bucks leaving town?
EJ: Eventually. I understand Senator Herb Kohl wants to keep the team in Milwaukee but the city is not a strong market. With Seattle lurking out there, I believe it’s only a matter of time before Milwaukee, or another struggling owner looks to bail on their franchise and sell.
Bill (Small Forward):
Unlikely. While Chris Hansen is still looking for a team to replace my beloved Sonics, I just don’t see the Bucks leaving Milwaukee. Sure, they’re continuing to bleed money and the team is in a downward spiral that no number of first round picks is going to bring to an immediate end, but that still doesn’t mean they’re going to be sold with the expressed intention of relocation. I don’t see Adam Silver and Clay Bennett allowing that. The duo blocked the sale of the Sacramento Kings, so why would they allow the Bucks to go instead? Because Milwaukee has other professional sports while Sacramento has none? Bah. What’s clear is that the league still has a vendetta against the city of Seattle and that much is quite clear. That aside, as a Sonics fan, I would much rather Hansen et al be granted the rights to start anew and establish a legacy of their own with no prior or shared history to be had.
Sandy: Its really hard to say if they will leave, I think the talk of a sale is in its infancy, so I guess it would be up to the new owner. I’m sure the NBA would like them to stay since moving could mean building a new stadium. If that’s the case they will probably be in Milwaukee for a year or so.
Zach: Too early to say, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The amount of success Milwaukee has had is limited, and like I said in a previous RT, St. Louis could be a prime spot for another franchise. If it were me? I wouldn’t be focused on location! location! location! I would be focused on the team I am putting on the floor. The “Greek Freak” Giannis Akben-Ah-whatever is an exceptional player and displays some raw All-Star talent. Dump Mayo, sign a few fresh faces and put this city to work. Right now, moving shouldn’t be on the “to-do” list for this franchise. It’s actually getting a team to move with.
3. The Bobcats are in the Playoffs! Does this justify the Al Jefferson contract?
EJ: Yes. Yes it does. Big Al was an All-Star snub, but the guy deserves at least one Most Valuable Player vote. Craziness? Maybe but other than David, can any of us name at least two other players on the Bobcats roster? Off the top of my head, I know I can’t.
Bill: In essence, yes; however, it’s all going to be for naught once they get bounced in the first round. Beyond Jefferson, MKG, and Walker, they’re pretty thin. I wish the best for them and would like to see them get beyond the first round in an effort to validate Jordan’s push for Al Jefferson, but there’s simply no way they get past Indiana no matter how poorly the Pacers have been playing as of late.
Sandy:I think it justifies it to the extent that there are those in the league that make a lot more and their team isn’t going to the play-offs, especially those that were injured and didn’t play much this year, but make over $20 – $30M, the 3 top guys on the Heat all make less then $20M.
Zach: All I can say is congrats to the Kitties for making the playoffs. Does it justify Big Al’s contract? I guess next year will really tell. If we are seeing another playoff stint in 2015 out of Charlotte, then I would vote ‘yes’. Otherwise, let’s get him another year before they put him in the Nascar-er- Bobcat’s HOF. Because they probably would’ve put him in the wrong hall of fame, too. That’s for you, David.
I think so. The Bobcats have done some stupid deals- and this gets them out of that restricted first round pick they set on fire traded away.
Al Jefferson has far exceeded any expectations, and at least the Bobcats are not a joke- How good they can be depends on Kemba Walker more than Big Al, but at least they are no longer a joke.
Imagine if they had added Paul Millsap (Lawd knows they had the room) or even Greg Monroe this offseason- the Cats could be a challenge to Chicago’s lock on the 3rd best record.
4. Are the Pacers falling apart?
EJ: I hate to go all Henny Penny and scream that the sky is falling, but it is falling in Indy. Paul George isn’t as good as he thinks he is, Lance Stephenson is too focused on his upcoming payday, and the additions of Evan Turner and Andrew Bynum has done more harm than good. Coach Vogel is a good coach, but I won’t be surprised if he eventually gets the Stan Van Gundy treatment and shown the door.
BIll: No. If anything, they’re simply getting tired after expending so much effort to show that they’re Miami’s equals. The problem with that is they’ve reached the end of the season and look to be pretty well spent. With the end of the season upon us and the playoffs immediately after, fans of the Pacers can only hope that their team has enough left in them to hang with the Heat once the dust settles. I will say that seeing the looks on the Pacers’ faces after being completely embarrassed at home by ATL was priceless and perhaps the hard slap in the face with reality they needed. This is the NBA and not the NCAA; every team in the league is loaded with solid talent and can surprise you any night. The Pacers have learned that several times this season as have many other teams.
Sandy:It seems like they are as they lost only 5 games through Dec and lost 10 in Mar. Hopefully they will get back on course to challenge Miami.
Zach (Power Forward):
It seems so. Unless they are pulling some kind of “ta-da” trick on the Heat (and the rest of the league), it seems like Danny Granger’s departure has had more of an effect on the team that they thought it may have. Don’t get me wrong, the trade made sense. Now let’s hope it doesn’t take five more years for the team to get comfortable again. I can honestly say I like the Pacers and the TEAM-focused play Frank Vogel and Larry Bird have instilled in these guys. They remind me a lot of the New York Knicks in the late 1980-90’s. Let’s hope they can get this turned around in time for the post-season.
David: I’m a little scared for them. Losing Granger has proved to be a HUGE mistake, and Bynum for some reason has shown to have no heart- stunning I know. Paul George seems to have to put this team on his back at the wrong time- and how Hibbert can shoot 5-13 vs scrub centers, as he did in a recent loss just worries me. They still should challenge the Heat- or could lose round 1.
5. Do you think Denver has an advantage in signing Larry Sanders?
EJ: I like what you’ve done here. The big man is in favor of the legalization of marijuana so why not link him with one of the states that have been progressive on the issue. I know you’re not asking me for my opinion, but I long thought that marijuana should be legalized, taxed, and sold, so I’m with Larry on the issue. Marijuana has many positive health benefits, and it’s about time it’s decriminalized. Anyway, as far as your question is concerned Larry is still under contract for a few more seasons. He can angle for a trade to Denver if he wants one.
Bill: Why? Because Sanders recently came forward and announced that he’s pro-marijuana? I don’t see that having any relevance to him possibly being signed at all. But, if DEN wants to get some young and skillful help for their defense, they could do far worse than Sanders. Besides, the NBA has a pretty strict policy when it comes to drug testing and punishment when players are caught. Legal of not in Colorado, Sanders is still an employee of the NBA and bound to the contract he signed which specifically states that drugs are bad…. mmkay?
I’m not up on the situation with Larry Sanders so will recuse myself from that question.
Zach: I can see David asking me this in a bar and nudging me like “eh? eh? Come on, it’s funny right?! Denver…Larry Sanders…marijuana. Come on guys!” I’ll sum it up with this: Yes, they do have an advantage. Or maybe starting up a one-man team in Seattle, called the “Seattle Sanders”. There’s my nudge back, David. It’s funny right?
David: I thought it was funny. But lets be honest. Getting busted for the NBA’s drug policy is a “too stupid to care” mistake. The NBA does everything it can to make sure no one EVER gets caught with drugs- I mean BASEBALL wishes they could protect drugs as good as the NBA has.