10

Rankings: 1. Spurs, 2. Suns, 3. Warriors?

I can’t believe I’m typing this with a straight face, but the Warriors are the third best team in the league. OK, maybe it’s more accurate, reasonable, to say fourth (behind Detroit). I would listen to arguments that they’re No. 5 (Everybody’s in love with Chicago all of a sudden). But certainly no lower.
Seriously, put all records aside and rank the teams based on right now. Evaluate the roster, style of play, coaching, momentum, whatever. How would you rank the teams?
San Antonio is tops right now. Hands down. Actually, not hands down, because you could make the case Phoenix is better, though it looks like we’ll find out in a week or so. But I think the Spurs are playing better right now, against a better opponent than the Suns are facing.
No. 1. San Antonio.
That would make the Suns second. That’s a no-brainer.
No. 2 Phoenix
So whose next? Dallas? They’re not better than the Warriors. Detroit? I can go with that, though I’d like the Warriors chances. The Pistons aren’t the defensive juggernaut they once were and I don’t think they can keep up with the Warriors on offense. They are veteran (a.k.a. old) and they lack depth. But they do have championship experience. That means a lot.
No. 3 Pistons
That leaves the Warriors. I just can’t see any other team that can match-up with Golden State. Not Chicago. Not Cleveland. Not Dallas. Houston and Utah both have looked rather awful in their series.
No. 4 Warriors
In all honesty, you could make a case for having the Warriors No. 2. If you believe they’re better than the Pistons, that bumps them up to No. 3. Then that would beg the question: can the Warriors run with the Suns? Certainly possible. It would be an amazing series.
Here’s the rest of my top 10.
No. 5 Dallas
No. 6 Chicago
No. 7t Houston
No. 7t Utah
No. 9 Cleveland
No. 10 Denver

So, do I sound crazy?

4

Blog Question

“Given these cap problems in the near future, and the need for a true power forward to move to a championship contender level, what do you guys think of putting Monta on the block to get Garnett?” – Andrew Rosenblum

I like the way this sounds. As Andrew pointed out, a starting five of Garnett, Biedrins, Jackson, Richardson and Davis — however expensive — could contend for the West crown — especially when you throw in Barnes and Pietrus and Azubuike off the bench. The Warriors would definitely need a back-up point guard if Ellis is shipped off, and it has to be someone pretty good, like a Brevin Knight.
I could swallow this deal better if it was Andris and not Ellis that was being pawned off. Moving Foyle in the deal would also be a must, especially if the 2007 first rounder is included.
But I like the idea of trying to win a title now, not banking on potential. Monta will be, at the very least, a really good player. But will he lead the Warriors to a title? Who knows. Probably not. If you have the chance to contend for a crown now, even if it means giving up potential, I’d do it. It would have to be for a sure-bet kind of player, such as Garnett. But you know what he could do with talent around him, and the Warriors have talent.
When you’ve got a window of opportunity, you have to go for it.
That’s where, in my opinion, the Bulls blew it. Imagine if they had Pau Gasol on that squad. They passed up a chance to win now because their players MIGHT be good later. It’s much more of a certainty that Gasol next to Ben Wallace, along with two of the three young studs (Gordon, Hinrich, Deng — I would have given them up in this order) would contend for a crown, this year or next, especially as week as the East has become. They missed a golden opportunity. I would hate to see the Warriors do the same.

2

Heat Proves East’s Inferiority

How can you not win a game?
You’re the defending champions, one of the top seeds in the Eastern Conference and a trendy pick to reach the NBA Finals. How in the world do you get swept, Miami? Is Chicago that good, or the East that bad?
I’m going with the latter. Orlando couldn’t even make it a good fight against Detroit. The No. 3 seeded team, Toronto, is being mauled by the Nets, whom they beat out for the Atlantic Division crown.
And Cleveland, my pick to rise from the East’s rubble, is having a tough time putting away Washington — which is without two of its Big Three, including its best player in Gilbert Arenas.
Is anybody even watching those games?
The only East team that has a chance of winning the NBA crown is Detroit, and the Pistons certainly aren’t as daunting as they used to be. And don’t give me that Chicago nonsense. They’re young and quick, which was a bad match-up for the old-head Heat. The fact is, the Bulls are subpar offensively, and they lack experience and depth. I’m not buying what they’re selling — or anything out of that conference.
WEST SIIIIIIIIDE!

3

This is for the Series

If the Warriors win Game 4, they are moving to the second round.
Yeah, I said it.
If they lose Game 4, Dallas wins this series in seven games.
Yeah, I said it.
I just don’t see Dallas winning in Oakland. Which, as tough as it is for me to say, means I don’t see Dallas winning in this series. Well, it’s not that tough any more. The Mavericks really don’t look so dominating anymore. Despite the fact that Nellie keeps trying to pass it off as a bad week for the Mavericks, I believe the Warriors are forcing them to play poorly. Dallas has been pilfered of their confidence and swagger by what is perhaps the best No. 8 seed in NBA history.
Too many things go right for the Warriors at home, unless they’re playing the Spurs. They’re too explosive. Too intense. It’s been like that for a while now. All they need is to put it together for one more game, I think, just to really break the Mavericks’ spirit. Dirk said today that they CAN NOT go home down 3-1. He called it a Game 7 for them. What happens if they lose?
Yup, tonight’s game is for the series, ladies and gents.

8

Another Brilliant Move

Don Nelson had a nice tweak for the Mavericks to start the game. He put Andris Biedrins in the starting lineup in place of Al Harrington. It was a genius counter to the Mavericks big lineup.
Andris gave the Warriors length inside to contest the Mavericks 7-footer and rebound the ball. It also gave the Warriors a proven finisher inside. Harrington is not the factor in the paint Andris is unless he’s against a smaller defender.
Jackson milked the pick-and-roll with Biedrins for three dunks, something that wouldn’t have happened with Harrington. Plus, the Warriors uptempo game doesn’t slow down because Andris can run the floor better than most big men.
Did you see his running one-hand dunk. He took off from Walnut Creek and stretched to East Oakland.
The move also gave the Warriors more punch off the bench. As it was before, the only offense that had coming into the game was Pietrus and Barnes, which is not exactly reliable. Harrington (though he struggled again offensively) givs the Warriors proven offense off the bench, and creates a mismatch advantage when the Mavericks decide to go small — which is how Harrington got to the line for nine free throws Friday.
Your move, Avery.

4

Unbelievable Crowd

The yellow t-shirts. The intensity sitting in the air like LA fog. The decibals at never before reached levels (I’ve been told Sleepy Floyd’s performance was comparable).
It’s something Warrior fans have never experienced.

4

BLOG QUESTION

“I always wanted to know, who do you think Monta will play like 5 years from now: Gilbert, AI, Baron, or someone else?” — itsagreattimeout

I say a combination of Gilbert and Iverson, but leaning towards Iverson because he’s not physically overpowering like Gilbert. He’s got Gilbert’s explosiveness and Iverson’s knock for scoring. He doesn’t have AI’s handles — which is going to be his biggest hurdle — or Gilbert’s range. But he’s a better defender than both. He will be great at playing the passing lanes, like AI, and he’ll certainly have the moxie to come through in the clutch.