NBA Roundtable 12/10 Edition


Welcome to the NBA Roundtable! This week we have Bill and David doing their Dr J and Bird impression.

1. Has Boogie Cousins finally matured?Boogie Cousins

David: I’m thinking he has, his cheap fouls are down, he’s not swinging his elbows like a ten year old on the playgrounds. I’m not sure that he’s a leader yet, but I don’t think we have to worry about him charging into the stands anymore.
Bill:  It’s genuinely hard to say if he’s matured enough to no longer negatively affect his teammates and the outcome of the game in a similarly negative fashion, but it does appear that he’s further along on the “getting it” end of things than he was even last season. His personal restraint in a situation earlier this season in a game in Phoenix showed that clearly. In that same game, he ended up physically restraining his coach. That is not the same DeMarcus Cousins we’ve all grown to recognize and shake our heads at, that’s for sure. He’s been in the league four years now, and his antics certainly have worn thin over that time. It’s good that he’s taking some accountability in his actions as the focal point of the team and perhaps some of the people who are around him (Rudy Gay, of all people) are providing some stabilization. You can always be a child at heart, but when you’re on the court…. it’s all about being a man and keeping a cool head. I’m happy that he may have tired of hearing the negative chatter and has chosen to rise above it.

2. Do you believe in the Hawks?Atlanta Hawks

David: Not at all. I do think they have a stunning record, but dig a bit deeper. They have lost to almost every good team they have played, with the biggest win being the Pelicans. But how good can you be when your leading scorer is Jeff Teague and his massive 17.5 PPG?

Bill:  I’m not really all that strong on the Hawks, but they are quietly banging away and rebuilding in a very top heavy Eastern Conference. They’ve got some real talent on their roster for perhaps the first time in five years and it shows. Will they be able to keep the injury bug at bay? Will Dennis Schroeder continue his rapid development? Will they be able to put some distance between themselves and a very hot Washington team? Whether they will be able to maintain this pace is the real question to consider as the season progresses and the schedules get invariably tougher.

3. Is the media making too much out of the Rondo/Kobe breakfast?Rose and Kobe

David: Kobe needs a wingman, and if he’s serious about chasing a ring, he is going to need to put himself out there. We have next to no clue on where Rondo wants to play, and having the alpha dog of the Lakers play buddy-buddy to him, is a good thing.

Bill:  Yes and no. Yes, they’re putting too much into two guys who have played with and against one another who just happened to share a breakfast together. Friendships are bound to happen despite team loyalties, so let the two simply eat in peace before they do battle. No, because Kobe is always looking for more and better help and especially so seeing that the end of the road is rapidly approaching even if Laker fans don’t want to accept it. It’s pretty clear that Jeremy Lin isn’t the answer at the point in LA and his recent struggles illustrate that quite clearly. The Lakers need a veteran presence and one who can genuinely lead the attack… and Lin is not that guy. Rondo would be a tremendous upgrade at the point in terms of ball handling, distribution, and leadership/ Sure, there’s a lot of appeal to the Asian community with Lin on the roster, but there needs to be more to it than that. Lin needs to step up and play the role he was acquired for else he’ll find himself playing elsewhere before you know it. If that means he takes a back seat to someone else that’s brought in, then so be it.

4. Are the days of the low post Center dead? Ewing

David: Considering most offenses today are built on cutting and movement, I would say yes. Its hard to fathom a return to the day where you throw the ball in, and wait 5-7 seconds to see what happens. Too many guards try and steal the ball and cut off and outlet lanes to set too deep anymore.

Bill:  Pretty much. In this NBA day and age, it’s all about positional flexibility. We’ve not had a real back-to-the-basket behemoth since… well… Shaq. Truth be told, I don’t really see the NBA returning to those days, either. Scoring and flash is where it’s at anymore and it’s been moving more to that style each and every year as rules are changed and entertainment value becomes the greater focal point over what once was about substance and pure sport. Even though teams that focused on a half court offense and an equivalent defense are boring in the eyes of many, that kind of basketball is what developed some of the league’s best talent at the pivot. Now, if you can’t step out and hit the three or occasionally run the break, you’re more likely to be a hindrance than a help. As hard as it is for me to say it, I miss the old days of Ewing, Mourning, O’Neal, and the many others who played the position as true low post centers instead of this stretch four stuff we’re seeing now.

5. Will the Sixers make themselves a dead end city as far as free agents are concerned?Tanking 76ers

David: While the plan is smart, I wonder about the long term effect is going to be. Would you want to anchor your career peak to a franchise that has no problems cutting bait as soon as something goes south? Of course, if they do hit the mother lode and end up with a quicker Mutumbo, David Robinson and Scottie Pippen, its going to be hard to stop free agents from turning the place into a snowy Miami. Of course, if they end up with a Greg Oden, Eumeka Oakfor and Danny Ferry, then they have problems.

Bill:  Trying to entice free agents while openly embracing losing is a pretty hard sell. I just don’t see it working out no matter what talent is acquired via the draft. Philly desperately wanted Wiggins and their blatant tanking backfired on them with Wiggins instead ending up in CLE (though that was fishy enough), only to end up being traded to MIN later as the key piece in the Kevin Love deal. Despite missing out on Wiggins, they did get Noel back and he’s been a defensive force for them as was expected despite all the questions about his health after a major knee injury. MCW is a solid talent, capable of putting up a triple double any night. Joel Embiid will be back next year and a nice pivot man…  there are a few other complementary players on the team but that’s about where the promise ends. This team is, at the least, five years away from contending for a playoff spot let alone anything more. What marquee free agent is going to want to come into that? While I understand that Philly’s money is just as green as any other teams’ money, buying into what they’re doing is going to be hard to accept no matter what promise the future may hold. Even as a vagabond player, absorbing all that losing and just playing your game for the sake of a pay day would be difficult. Personally speaking, I couldn’t sign there no matter what they paid since I’m morally opposed to deliberate losing. As Philly is likely to find out in the years that come and as long as this scheme is in place, karma has a way of remedying nonsense like that.

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