The first NBA Roundtable of 2015. We as this week; What are your predictions for 2015? What was your 2014 moment of the year? And we will discuss Adam Silver’s job performance. This and much more..
Here are the questions.
- In 1994, when the Indiana Pacers faced off against the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals, I became not only a fan of the NBA, but a fan of the Indiana Pacers. Name the time in history where you realized that you a fan of the NBA or a fan of a particular team.
Earl: That Pacers-Knicks series was a great one to become a fan of the NBA. I remember that series well, growing up in New York. For me, I became a Lakers fan, and a solid fan at that during the 1987 NBA Finals. I was young, only 5 years old at the time, but I was starting to get really into basketball, and I was mesmerized by the skyhook of Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Shortly after the series, my Dad put up a basketball hoop for me in my backyard, and despite my epic miss (I was 5 after all) my first shot attempt with a mini basketball was a skyhook. From that time on all I wanted in my room were pictures of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Bill: It’s hard to say for me when I became a real NBA fan. It was probably around the time that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were the league’s golden boys, but I can say for sure that my interest got significantly stronger once Jordan hit the league. Between him, Barkley, and all the other magnificent standouts that came onto the scene during that draft, it was hard to not sit up and take notice of the NBA becoming a truly big thing and something worth watching. As for when I knew I was a true fan of a particular team, that came when my Seattle Supersonics selected Shawn Kemp. I’ll always relish in the glory days that were the Sonics of his era (and after). Seeing as those days are gone, I’m back to rooting for my hometown Phoenix Suns. I’ve always liked them as well and when I played on the hoops team in elementary school, I wore #6 in honor of “Sweet D”, Walter Davis
- Can the Bulls survive Derrick Rose’ shooting woes?
Earl: So far the Bulls have done a good job of surviving the woes and Rose’s cautionary play. The man is slowly but surely re-working himself back to where he was pre injury. It’s going to take time but the Bulls will survive his woes. They’ve done so, so far, and they’ll have to rely on the few shooters they have until Derrick is back.
Bill: They’ve got no shortage of shooters, so I don’t really see Rose’s shooting slump as a huge deal breaker to their success. That shooting problem certainly doesn’t help, but I don’t think it’s insurmountable. Besides, Rose is still working his way back into things after spending what amounted to two years away from the court.
- What is your top NBA moment of 2014
Earl: LeBron coming down with cramps in Game 1 against the Spurs. Ironically enough I wasn’t taking the best care of my body at that time, and my legs started cramping up earlier that day when I was at the gym. Well, while lying in bed watching the game that cramp got worse and worse and I eventually had to limp downstairs to my kitchen and drink some salt water to get some electrolytes back. Dealing with my own pain, and watching LeBron struggling on the world stage brought a huge grin to my face. Don’t know why but it did.
Bill: My top moment was probably seeing the Spurs beat Miami in the NBA Finals. It’s hard to imagine them being able to come back after what seemed like such a crushing loss the season before and especially so since no one on that roster is getting any younger. Isn’t Tim Duncan 78 years old? Beyond that, I might say seeing LeBron James spurn the Heat and returning to Cleveland only to see the team struggle mightily. A collection of stars is never a guarantee for success, but seeing them falter this bad together is somewhat surprising.
- What are your bold predictions for 2015?
Earl: The Los Angeles Clippers will win the NBA Championship. It’s the same thing I said in the Season Previews so damn it I will say that shit now.
Bill: This is a tough one, but I’ll drop three: First, I’m hoping that Karma comes back once again to bite the Sixers for intentionally tanking. Apparently everyone but Adam Silver can see what they’re doing. It’s certainly not what I’d call good sportsmanship, but I can understand that they’re trying to rebuild through the draft. The problem is, there’s no guarantee in what you’re going to find there and if it’ll work for your team or not. Sometimes it’s best to play as hard as you can and let fate take its course. If the Sixers should have the top pick, they’ll get it. The basketball gods are obviously displeased thus far. Second, I’m going to say that the Cavs get rid of their new coach and James either opts out of his contract and leaves or forces the team to renegotiate his deal and give him a larger role as far as input on hiring goes. Without James onboard, that team is going nowhere. They’ll be a wasteland if he bails. Finally, and perhaps my boldest, will be that… San Antonio misses the playoffs despite winning the title last season. At what is very nearly the half way point, the Spurs are playing mediocre ball at best and are currently 20-14. Yes, I know that they usually turn it on in the second half of the season and really focus on the playoffs, but the competition in the conference has steadily increased over the past two years and those teams that are on the cusp are VERY hungry for their chance at glory. While it’s been a fantastic run for the Spurs and Tim Duncan, I think their run if finally over.
5. With almost a year under his belt, Grade Adam Silver’s job performance as commissioner.
Earl: I got to give the man an A. He handled the Sterling thing better than I expected, and I love the fact that he gave Isaiah Austin a job with the NBA after the young man’s dream ended due to Marfan’s Disease. He’s a smart guy, he’s personable, and so far he hasn’t made a misstep.
Bill: C-. Primarily speaking, Silver doesn’t seem all that different than Stern to be honest. I guess my expectations for him were too high seeing how long he was under the mentoring process of Stern, but I did have some real hope for him making some real changes right away. He faced his largest obstacle right away in the Donald Sterling fiasco and while it was a watershed moment for the NBA, I don’t agree with how the entire process was handled nor agree with the outcome. It’s long been known what Donald Sterling feels about black Americans and Hispanics, yet David Stern did nothing but sit back and count his money. Stern’s behavior and lack of action are inexcusable in my eyes. Silver’s move to force a sale of the team was too much for me. He’s clearly playing with a dangerous set of precedents and I don’t think that’s the road down which the NBA should travel. Secondly, I don’t like the fact that he’s not taken any real or measurable action as it relates to deliberate tanking in order to increase a team’s odds in the NBA Draft. It’s quite clear what Philly is doing and everyone can see it… except Silver. He’s an ignorant fool if he can’t or won’t recognize and acknowledge what’s happening under his watch. Finally, I’m disappointed that the league plays politics and meddles into situations where it is not necessary, and this was evident in the dealings with the potential relocation of the Kings to Seattle. Perhaps the issue was more on Stern, but to say that Silver had no involvement in it would be remiss of me. I will never understand how the league can rush through the sale of one team and get it relocated (my Sonics), where collusion between the NBA’s then commissioner and the new buyer was so sadly obvious, but then turn around and stall time and again for a buyer inside Sacramento to retain the team even though moving them makes significantly more sense. There was a deal in place to buy the team… yet the NBA decided to unnecessarily involve themselves to block the sale. For lack of a better word, this was, truthfully, bullshit. The NBA has little to no interest in either returning the NBA to Seattle as an expansion team or as a relocated team and that much is abundantly clear. Silver has the chance to right that wrong but, instead, has continued to use Stern’s raised middle finger to the city.
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