Nellieball Supreme: 2012 NBA Finals — Miami Heat v. OKC Thunder

For the second straight season, Nellieball will rule the NBA finals. This season, it ruled even in the conference championships. Those series were played almost entirely without centers.  Joel Anthony, Greg Stiemsma, Tiago Splitter, Dejuan Blair — and even Kendrick Perkins at times — were all sent to the bench, revealed as regular season cannon fodder. The power forwards — Serge Ibaka, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett — were shifted to the middle, and the small forwards — Durant, James and Battier, Pierce, Leonard and Jackson — became Nellieball power forwards.

The Nellieball four is now supreme in the NBA. Is it a coincidence that the last two NBA finals have featured the three greatest Nellieball fours to ever play the game? Dirk Nowitzki, Lebron James, Kevin Durant.

At a time when Joe Lacob is trying to turn back the clock, and turn the Warriors into a 1980’s style halfcourt team, the NBA is moving in a completely different direction. At a time when Joe Lacob is insisting on “changing the culture” of the Warriors back to the Ewing Knicks and Smits Pacers of coach Mark Jackson, the culture of the NBA is moving in the opposite direction, towards the vision of a crazy man with a penchant for Dewars and fish ties.

A rather sublime irony, don’t you think?

In the fourth quarter of the Heat’s game 7 win against the Celtics, Jeff van Gundy noted that by stationing Chris Bosh in the right corner, the Heat had completely eradicated the Celtics’ shot-blocking, by drawing Kevin Garnett away from the paint to guard him. This completely opened up the lane for the drives of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade… and Mario Chalmers.

This unconventional concept invented by Don Nelson —  the three-point shooting big man — once universally derided in the NBA (and still derided in Joe Lacob’s front office, and in the pages of the San Jose Mercury News) — is now conventional wisdom in the NBA. Three-point shooting big men drag opposing shot blockers out of the lane, and spread the floor, giving teams with better athleticism, quickness, ball-handling, and shooting the edge.

Chris Bosh is the sole Nellieball five in this series — the Thunder have no one comparable who can spread the floor out to the three point line. And I think the success or failure of the Heat may very well hinge on Bosh’s ability to hold down the middle against Perkins and Ibaka.  Will his injured abdomen and weakened conditioning allow it?

If so, and if Bosh can continue to knock down threes like he did in game 7 against the Celtics (he was merely 10-35 on the season, 29% career), then the Thunder will have an extraordinarily difficult time guarding both him and the drives of Lebron and Wade. Can they send Perkins out to the three point line? I don’t think so. And Ibaka won’t be all that useful out there either.

Other than that thought, I don’t think I can contribute much to the analysis of this series. Here’s a few bullet points:

  • The Thunder have home court advantage, and are -170 favorites. You can take the Heat at +155.
  • The two teams split the regular season contests.
  • Russell Westbrook shot 13-42 (31%) in those two games. And I expect him to continue to struggle against the pressure defense of Chalmers and Coles. Whether or not that will actually hurt the Thunder is anybody’s guess, because
  • Kevin Durant shot 22-41 (54%). And Westbrook’s decision making improved considerably in the Spurs series.

In the eyes of the world, this series will come down to the matchup of Lebron James and Kevin Durant. And for once, the world will be pretty much right. Both of these players will be forced to put their teams on their shoulders. And both of these players want badly to prove themselves the top dog in the NBA.

Will they guard each other? I’m not sure. It makes sense for the Heat to guard Durant with Shane Battier, shifting the bigger Lebron onto Ibaka. On the other hand, the Thunder have literally no one to guard Lebron but Durant. He’ll prove impossible for Ibaka, just as he did for Brandon Bass. There could be some cross-matching here. And Spoelstra has a history of squandering Lebron’s supreme defensive talents on the wrong player — as he did in last year’s finals.

But I have little doubt that Lebron will want to take the challenge on Durant in crunch time. I sure hope so, at any rate.

Has there ever been a more fascinating head to head matchup in NBA history? Hard to think of one. Bird, Magic and Jordan all played different positions, and had no peers at their own positions.  I guess Russell – Chamberlain qualifies. Perhaps Jerry West – Walt Frazier (Clyde destroyed West). I personally relished Hakeem Olajowon against Shaq and David Robinson. And Dennis Rodman vs. Shawn Kemp and Karl Malone (but that was a sideshow for most).

That’s a pathetically short list — I have a feeling I’m about to get my ear chewed off in the comments section — but it’s all I can think up at this moment when sunny skies and 90 degree weather beckon me through the window.

This is one for the ages. I’m ready for one of the most exciting NBA finals in history.

Thank you, Lebron James. Thank you, Kevin Durant.

And thank you to the man from whose inspired mind sprang this great era of NBA basketball:

Thank you, Don Nelson.

258 Responses to Nellieball Supreme: 2012 NBA Finals — Miami Heat v. OKC Thunder

  1. Great to see some enthusiasm here, FB. Though short, it’s been a long dreary season.

  2. Hard not to be impressed with OKC these days. From 4 straight wins over a very good Spurs team to a second half beat down of the Heatles in Game 1 of the Lockout Finals, these guys obviously mean business.

    I do believe the fact that Miami will have Games 3-5 in their building still makes this series likely to go at least 6, if not the full 7 games, and especially so if the Heat can take Game 2 on Thursday night.

    Don’t forget how SA looked to start their series vs OKC. How many were picking the Thunder after watching the Spurs win those first 2 games? And after Game 1 of the Finals how many will be picking the Heatles to win this series?

    Miami in 7.

  3. Still a dagger to the heart every time I think about Nellie being fired.

  4. Lacob took us in the wrong direction by trading for Bogut. But, maybe the Warriors will reverse the trend by drafting SF Moe Harkless, whose potential on both sides of the ball are limitless. Potentially, a big-time impact player. The Warriors telegraphing their potential pick might result in his being drafted prior to our seventh pick. They have to learn to just shut-up.

    Hopefully, their other draft picks will show us that they have a clue and go in the direction the NBA is going. Go Nellieball!

  5. Spoelstra putting Dwayne Wade on Westbrook was a brilliant defensive adjustment — given that Sefalosha is a non-scorer.

    A brilliant adjustment, that is, if Wade were 25 again. I have to wonder whether chasing Westbrook around isn’t a pyrrhic victory, that takes an enormous amount of energy out of Wade’s legs that the Heat would be better served using on the offensive end. It may not have been an accident that Wade couldn’t hit a shot last night.

    Can Wade’s knee even make it through this series with this assignment? We know what happened to him last season, chasing Barea and Terry.

    Two other points regarding this switch:

    — If Wade is not tearing up Harden and the others who try to guard him, it allows Brooks to leave Sefalosha to guard James, rather than Durant. This was something I didn’t consider above, but last night proved to me what a great defender Sefalosha really is: so long as he’s strong enough to keep James out of the paint on post-ups, he’s the guy the Thunder want on James.

    The Heat need to make the Thunder pay on this: either post up James like mad, or focus on Wade destroying his man.

    — A strategy that encourages Westbrook to shoot might not be the worst way to defend the Thunder. I’d make Chalmers and Coles chase him around, and let Wade rest.

  6. “In the midst of the “Rudy Gay trade rumor” circus, another rumor has surfaced that would send Rudy to the Golden State Warriors:

    The Golden State Warriors are desperately looking for some star power, and if they can’t land Dwight Howard they would love to have Rudy Gay. The Warriors also want to unload at least one and perhaps more of their four 2012 draft picks, and would happily package them with a combination of players – including David Lee – to make a trade happen.

    Now, the Grizzlies don’t necessarily need David Lee. The Grizzlies lack real depth at the guard position, not at the forward spot, and Lee’s contract is for $55mil over the next 4 years as opposed to Rudy’s $54mil over the next 3, which doesn’t help much in terms of the luxury tax threshold long-term.

    But……..”

    http://www.straightouttavancouver.com/2012/6/13/3082643/rudy-gay-trade-a-thon-rudy-for-david-lee-dorell-wright-and-the-7th

    • Wow. VERY badly handled by Stern. He could have stopped at no. He could have explained how the NBA is dedicated to serving the game of basketball. He could have talked about the financial and legal consequences of cheating, or explained the lottery ball device. But no, he personally antagonized a reporter for doing his job.

      Shame on David Stern.

    • I can’t find reference to it online, but I think Art Buchwald wrote a piece about horse racing in South Vietnam, which was notoriously corrupt, back during the war. The trick wasn’t to know the horses but the fixers.

    • Lance Armstrong is the most drug-tested athlete in history, having undergone over 500 tests throughout his career. He has been randomly surprise-tested, year-round, for almost 20 years, in and out of competition. Like all pro cyclists, Lance is even required to inform testers of his whereabouts at all times so they can drop in for testing anytime, anywhere in the world. Think of it, for 20 years Lance has never taken a weekend away without notifying WADA of his whereabouts.

      The testing performed by the international cycling union, the UCI, is the most advanced, sophisticated testing in the world. Tests are supervised by WADA, which oversees most major international sports testing, including the Olympics. No other sport, no other organization – including the Olympics – tests athletes more rigorously than the UCI. They do catch cheaters, including several of Lance’s closest teammates – most prominently Tyler Hamilton, Roberto Heras and Floyd Landis. But in 20 years of state-of-the-art testing, Lance Armstrong has never failed a drug test.

      For the last 3 years, Lance was the target of a federal grand jury investigation for using performance-enhancing drugs. That investigation was supported by the FBI, and it heard testimony from hundreds of witnesses. The case was closed with no charges filed.

      That’s not to say that Lance has never taken performance-enhancing drugs. Maybe he found a way to beat the system without making a single mistake – for 20 years! Maybe his influence and money got him false passes – and the literally thousands of doctors, lab techs, anti-doping officials, UCI and Olympic officials who had to know about it all maintained a code of silence. For 20 years. Maybe that federal prosecutor was told by some politician to drop the case.

      Feltibus, I know this new story about Lance Armstrong feeds into your penchant for conspiracy theories, but here’s some advice: don’t bet on Lance getting nailed for using drugs. He’s got far and away the world’s best track record on that score.

      • Does that sterling track record include the fact that virtually every single person he’s been in close professional contact with witnessed him using?

        • That’s what they say. I forgot to mention that the 3 former teammates of Armstrong who got busted for drugs were

          a) all busted after they left Armstrong’s team to race against him.

          b) key witnesses in the grand jury investigation that didn’t ultimately press charges against Armstrong.

          I’m no expert. I’m not defending Lance Armstrong. I’m just saying that he has a 100% record of beating every test and every allegation of doping, for an awfully long time. Literally no one on earth has more experience or success at it. If you want to bet that Armstrong suddenly gets busted, be my guest.

      • Worth reading. The sport was dirty from the top down. Just like baseball, just like boxing, just like….
        http://www.iol.co.za/sport/lemond-accuses-armstrong-of-doping-again-1.620694#.T9k-hSd5mc0

        Why hasn’t Armstrong nor any cycling official sued Lemond for slander?

        • Why bother?

          • Feltsis,

            I don’t know what you know about bike racing, but I’ve been following it avidly for 30 years (wow, nothing says “old” like using a phrase like that). I was a big fan of Lemond’s back in the day.

            After winning two Tours, Lemond was shot in a hunting accident, and complications from that incident eventually forced him from cycling. That wasn’t such a bad thing. He left just when EPO use started to really take off, and he had a closeup view of the cheating that went on at the time. It took several years before drug testing caught up and could detect EPO use, so there was a period in the early 90s where it was widespread. That’s documented fact.

            The problem with Lemond’s crusade against doping is that nothing that he has ever said about it has ever been based on verifiable facts. He has no evidence, and no special insight. To him, “it’s just obvious” that drug use is still rampant in the sport, and that Armstrong was a regular offender. At the same time, he claims he could have won 7 Tours himself if he hadn’t been shot. That’s the problem. To many, including his former employer, Trek Bicycles, Lemond’s comments about his angelic self vs. the evil Armstrong make him look merely bitter and jealous. As a result, Lemond has lost his bicycle line and his credibility in the industry where he has earned a living for his whole life. He has become a non-person in the sport that should consider him one of the all time greats.

            So my earlier comment, “why bother,” means, first, that no one takes Lemond seriously anymore, and secondly, at this point the poor guy has lost everything he ever gained through cycling, so no one gains anything by suing him. Not money, and not good PR.

          • Besides the millions of dollars he could win for damage to reputation? How about to restore his dignity? If I were him, and were innocent, I would sue every single person who alleged otherwise, until it stopped. And I think any other innocent person with millions in endorsements at stake, not to mention a historic legacy, would do the same?

          • F

            That’s certainly one way of handling it, but it wouldn’t clearly be a win. Armstrong would have a hard time proving Lemond hurt his earning power when the government ran a 3-year investigation.

          • Who’s on the side of the conspiracy theorists this time? Because a rather large number of people have testified that they have direct knowledge of his cheating. Can you recall that ever happening before to an athlete that was innocent? A conspiracy of the spiteful?

            If three popes and a bishop all came forward and said they injected Armstrong in the butt themselves, a huge number of racing fans would still say “Where’s the evidence? He never tested positive!” Even though a significant part of the testimony against him concerns masking agents, and other techniques to beat the testing.

            Forgive me if I side with the US authorities who are so convinced he’s dirty that they’ve brought this action against him. I’m willing to lay 2-1 he loses his titles as a result.

            Will he still be innocent when that happens? There will be no more evidence than there’s always been. The testimony of those in the know.

          • Feltch,

            90% of the top competitors from the Armstrong era were busted for doping. That looks suspicious for Lance. But if he did dope, how would that have given him an unfair advantage? Wouldn’t it have just brought him up to par? If your issue with Armstrong is over fairness of competition, I think it’s a wash. Dude, they were all playing the same game with the same rules.

            WADA didn’t have a workable test for EPO until several years after it hit the pro peloton. European cycling’s governing body, the UCI, tested for blood oxygen level instead, since EPO is used to improve that. They set a limit of 50% haematocrit level, above which racers were required to sit out races, without penalty. That limit was surpassed by many racers prior to the invention of EPO. In other words, top athletes have never had to dope to achieve EPO performance levels. So outstanding performance isn’t evidence of doping.

            Lance may well have doped.

            a) So what?
            b) He may well not have.
            c) Proof is important.
            d) There is no conclusive proof, despite 20 years’ scrutiny by every national and international drug enforcement agency in every country Armstrong has ever competed in. That’s not my opinion, that’s the opinion of every professional investigator who ever tried to nail Armstrong for drugs. They just wrapped up a 3 year federal grand jury investigation formed with the explicit goal to get him. It concluded without pressing charges. Name one other GJ investigation of any other athlete that failed to get its target.
            e) Armstrong is a multi-gazillionaire with the best legal representation available.

            I don’t know if Armstrong ever doped. I don’t care. Drug testing is a game, for everyone involved. As far as I’m concerned, if a pro athlete doesn’t at least consider cheating, he’s not trying hard enough to be a winner.

            I predicted that Armstrong would not face charges in the grand jury investigation, and they had subpoena power the USADA doesn’t have. That makes it even easier to predict that the USADA won’t be able to make anything stick either. Save your money. Don’t place that bet.

  7. Another day, another conspiracy theory. LOL Oh well, here’s my CT contribution for the day. And no, nothing about Andrew Bogut or Steph Curry’s rehab update to be found herein.

    ———————————————–

    “Yes, conspiracies exist and have always existed. But what is in question is the scope and extent of such behaviour. Most of the conspiracy theories in existence are not content with exposing isolated events, but more interested in finding ways to tie them altogether into one grand unified theory. This is where the going gets tricky and where facts can give way to fantasy.

    But more importantly, belief in master conspiracies (whether true or false) can have detrimental consequences for the believer.

    Back to my original statement, that I got deep into conspiracy books in the early 80s. Yes, I was serious. In fact, it became all I could talk about, and I’d raise the subject wherever I had the opportunity (rather like a religious zealot raising the subject of God). I would bring it up at dinner parties. I would bring it up over a glass of beer. And I would discuss it with my work mates. You see, I had information they needed to know about!

    It all got to be a bit much. Then one day a thought hit me. If all these conspiracies are in fact true, and all pervasive, then I may as well top myself now, and put myself out of misery!

    You see, I came to the realisation that belief in such theories was actually a form of mind-warp – and means of turning off one’s sense of personal power. When one is consumed by some theory or other, then its power is all-encompassing. There is no escape. If these shadowy figures are as powerful as you believe they are, then you are at their mercy.

    By believing, you enter into some murky netherworld – a place where reality becomes elastic, and where paranoia flourishes. A bit like living through your own “Illuminatus Trilogy”.

    It was at that point that I threw all my conspiracy books away. Not because I had proven them wrong, or because I had suddenly rejected their theories outright, but because they were infecting my soul with a sense of powerlessness.

    I’ve never looked back. I’m not saying conspiracies don’t exist, but that fanatical belief in them is disempowering. It puts you in a place where you are the ultimate cosmic victim.”

    “The Conspiracy/Paranoia Trap”

    http://bit.ly/LC3OkJ

  8. “The NBA free agency period begins July 1 and the Trail Blazers are treading on thin ice if they expect prime coaching candidates to be around by then.

    Which leads me to believe that Kaleb Canales will become the team’s permanent head coach. It is well documented that Canales and Olshey share the same agent – Warren LeGarie.

    I’m not ready to go conspiracy theory and say this is a LeGarie setup.

    It might be that Canales is the cheaper option. Nate McMillan is still owed roughly $7 million and the Trail Blazers executive staff has more employees than the average NBA team and adding cost might not be an option for Paul Allen.

    That’s still not an excuse not to conduct a thorough search for the most qualified coaching candidate that will get the best out of the Trail Blazers’ roster. If doing their due diligence is to take place, the Trail Blazers need to call up a few teams and get the process going now.”

    (OMG, another conspiracy theory! LOL)

    http://www.csnnw.com/pages/landing/?blockID=724424&feedID=5212

  9. Anything special planned for your husband/wife’s next birthday?

    http://dallasne.ws/LK6XQB

  10. OT: We all strive for perfection but rarely achieve it. Congrats to Matt Cain!

  11. TrueHoop TV: Jeff Van Gundy on Game 2

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8049406

  12. NBA Notebook (Gery Woelfel):

    Bucks general manager John Hammond’s name has surfaced as a candidate to replace Rod Thorn as the Philadelphia 76ers’ president and general manager. Danny Ferry is considered the frontrunner for the job. Hammond has one year remaining on his contract with the Bucks. … Some blue-chip players will become available on July 1 and so will one Grade-A coach: Scott Brooks of Oklahoma City. One would assume Brooks will re-sign with the Thunder, although I have heard that is far from being a slam dunk. … Several NBA scouts have told me Baylor’s Perry Jones reminds them of former Buck forward Tim Thomas, for good and bad. … Ex-Badger Brian Butch, now fully healthy after having knee surgery, will be playing for the Atlanta Hawks in the Las Vegas Summer League. … So which team has allegedly “promised” to take Syracuse guard Dion Waiters. I’ve been told by two NBA officials that it is the Phoenix Suns, who pick right after the Bucks. … I can never ever remember when the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the NBA drafted has waited this long to sign with an agent or agency. But Kentucky’s Anthony Davis is still mulling his choices, apparently between the Wasserman Media Group, Creative Artists Agency and Bill Duffy’s BDA Sports. … The Bucks are keeping the door open to possibly re-sign unrestricted free-agent in-waiting Kwame Brown. … While the Phil Jackson to New York and Orlando rumors have died down, I’m still hearing the Zen Master is receptive to coming out of retirement and could return to the NBA season in a consulting role.

  13. AW of Yahoo Sports: Time for DStern to exit stage left.

    http://yhoo.it/Ld7YAQ

  14. Video: Bill Simmons talks aging Celtics with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8051460

  15. TrueHoop TV: Game 2 recap (Marc Stein and John Hollinger).

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8055159

  16. WH@11: “So what?” “if a pro athlete doesn’t at least consider cheating, then he’s not trying hard enough to win.”

    All I can say at this point is that your idea of what it means to compete at the highest level of sport differs considerably from mine.

    And on that note, I start play today in a WSOP event, and won’t be able to comment much (or watch the Finals live) for the next couple days.

    • Feltonomic,

      Cheating violates my sense of Truth and Justice of course, but I don’t really blame athletes for it. I freely admit that I’d cheat (and steal, and whatever else it took) to feed my kids. Athletes who don’t do everything possible to win, don’t win, and they don’t get that next pro contract. That IS the harsh reality for pro athletes, regardless of what sports marketing organizations want fans to believe about the Purity of Sport.

      Sports organizations which don’t perform drug tests lose fans over the issue. It affects the bottom line. Do you think David Stern is more concerned about Purity, or $? It’s a business.

      Drug testing is a pretty cynical game in most sports. The last time I looked, MLB and the NBA ran only scheduled tests – easily beatable. Look at the sheer size and power of footballers today. Back in the 60s, Pro Bowler Alex Karras played defensive tackle at 225 pounds. Today, no big college tackle plays at less than a fit, toned 300 pounds. Fact: that is nearly impossible to attain at a young age without pharmaceutical help.

      When EPO first hit the pro peloton in the early 90s, there was no lab test for it. EPO enhances blood oxygen level, something that is easily and reliably tested. So the UCI set an arbitrary upper limit on that – essentially an upper limit on aerobic fitness – above which cyclists would have to sit out a race, without penalty. That limit (50% haematocrit) was lower than an elite athlete could achieve solely through training, without drugs. Some historically clean racers (proven by their pre-EPO haematocrit tests) had to actually “de-tune” before events to stay under the limit. The UCI’s haematocrit limit could not prevent doping, but it did help ensure a level playing field. Racers won that testing game by keeping just below the limit. In other words, since the UCI couldn’t prevent doping, they made it irrelevant. How cynical is that?

      The earliest attempts at lab testing for the EPO drug itself were entirely subjective, an “eyeball” test, as in “does this blood look funny to you?” The procedures have since improved to be quantifiable and repeatable, but back in the day, numerous racers’ careers were destroyed on the basis of what amounted to little more than subjective guesswork. In essence, the UCI arbitrarily selected racers to destroy, to demonstrate the cleanliness of cycling. That was the UCI playing its drug testing game. Was that somehow less wrong than athletes cheating? I think it’s more wrong.

      Back in the 60s, a prominent pro bike racer was asked about doping in cycling. His answer: “We are not sportsmen.” That’s the fact. It’s still true. I don’t like it any more than any other fan. So what?

    • I compete for a living in a sport in which unfortunately many of the most famous names are known cheaters. These players made the same choice as the athletes you describe, for exactly the same reasons. To feed their families, blah, blah, blah.

      I would never, ever make the same choice, not for any amount of money, nor in the direst circumstances, no matter what it cost me. And believe me it’s cost me plenty over the years, in both recognition and financial security.

      Perhaps, as you suggest, I didn’t want to win badly enough. (Though I wonder then why it takes me weeks to get over a bad tournament loss.) Me, I like to think that there’s more to life and sport than winning, even when you’re playing to win. There’s living and playing with honor.

      • Felt, glad to hear you have integrity. I don’t cheat and steal for a living either. But it’s also fair to point out that my career choice doesn’t reward that kind of behavior. Most jobs are like that.

        Some jobs aren’t like that. In a league where the standard rookie contract is for 3 years, the average NBA career lasts just over 4. Players who don’t quite measure up face a much more stark future than you or I. You can always go on to the next tournament. I’ll always get another earning gig. They will not.

        So I don’t really think you and I can quite relate to the pressures of a 23-yr old with a nice jump shot, just one buyer for it, and nothing else to sell.

        • I’m confused, are you referring to Lance Armstrong?

          • Sure.

            NBA, NFL and MLB management play their drug-testing game with the skimpiest pretext of drug testing. Players cheat to get in those leagues, and they cheat to stay in. It’s fairly easy even for high school kids to get steroids, and it’s damn easy to beat the kind of testing programs applied by the major US leagues. US major league sports wink at illegal performance enhancement, while piously pointing to their testing programs to “prove” they take it seriously. Bullshit.

            Here’s another way of looking at cheating. Watch this clip, with special attention to Pietrus collecting a foul from Lebron, at 3:17:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCwpd16ukGQ&feature=relmfu

            Pietrus pulled Lebron to the floor to collect a foul from him. He cheated. But it’s part of the game, right?

            How is cheating with performance-enhancing drugs different? Cheating is cheating.

            The UCI, WADA, IOC and USADA play the drug testing game with far more advanced, stringent, thorough and expensive testing than US major league sports do. Pro cycling and the Olympics are far cleaner than US major league sports.

            But they know they can’t test for every “cheat” available, they only test for what they can. Athletes who feel they must dope to be competitive will be highly motivated to do so. They have the ability to do it. They do it. The UCI et. al. know they do. Just like MLB, the NFL and the NBA, just to a lesser degree.

            For any type of athlete with hopes of a pro career, part of the job is to beat drug tests. It’s part of the game. Getting all righteous about the purity of sport is also part of the game – and pro athletes are in partnership with their employers on that issue. They all have to act outraged.

            But really? C’mon. It’s a business, for everyone involved. If you really want to be angry about drug cheats, you should be outraged at organizations who perform inadequate testing. Pro organizations don’t need artificially enhanced athletes. Pro athletes need their jobs.

      • I watch sports because I like sports, because I think they matter, where players develop a set of skills and take pride and joy in them, where I sometimes or often get a chance to see things I didn’t think possible, every now and then see someone beat the odds for a change. It’s a way of proving life need not be mundane or mean and petty and stupid. Winning is only the best concrete measure of this pride and joy. Also involved is sacrifice, which ups the stakes and adds the element of risk, of a player fighting age and wearing down over a string of seasons–or blowing out a knee in his third game.

        When winning becomes the ultimate goal at the expense of those skills, the sport loses what defines it, and I’d argue that has happened in the NBA to a degree as teams move to more physical play, are driving to get fouls or go through all kinds of contortions to draw one. The things that make basketball exhilarating have been degraded. That of course, is only my opinion. I just stop watching.

        When the game is fudged or jimmied in any way, or, of course, outright fixed, to draw fans, to promote egos, to win games, or to lose them to get a draft pick, the whole point of sports becomes corrupted and, worse, meaningless. We only have so many days in our lives; pro players have many fewer in their professional lives. Watching a team deliberately tank is sickening and a waste, an insult to the players who played that night, some of whom might might get injured or might not have a chance to play again.

        When physical enhancements are allowed–steroids, etc.–the sport is also degraded and loses the point. It becomes a matter of who can work the medical tricks the best, and I’d rather go to an ER room to watch this. I don’t think anything has been proven here, but I still can’t appreciate Usain Bolt’s performance back in the China Olympics without wondering, given his extraordinary time and the knowledge that the drugs are readily available south of us.

        What makes the NBA playoffs a genuine joy is the guys really want to win this thing, that winning does mean something, in spite of all the hype and promotional blur that surrounds the game.

        And these guys would play for free if they had no other way to play basketball. (And we would come to watch, even pay, and then the promoters and owners would come in . . . etc. Look at the whole history of baseball.)

        • Now I see ER room is redundant.

          Also I want to see genuine competition, where no one team has overwhelming advantage, where players have to put themselves on the line to win. The Dream Team way back when was great PR and a worldwide tribute to those players, but, man, it was boring basketball. I couldn’t watch long.

  17. The Point Forward:

    “The Nets traded a top-three protected pick to Portland for forward Gerald Wallace, with the team’s front office declaring publicly (and sort of ridiculously) that there were only three truly impactful players in the 2012 draft anyway. They badly wanted the ping-pong balls to bounce them up from the middle of the lottery into the top three so that they could keep their pick; it didn’t happen, and so the Nets ended up trading the No. 6 pick in the draft for Wallace.

    And Wallace on Wednesday confirmed to the Charlotte Observer‘s Rick Bonnell that he will decline his $9.5 million player option for next season, meaning the Nets, on the surface, dealt a fairly high lottery pick to have Wallace play two months on a team that probably should have just tanked.”

    http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2012/06/14/gerald-wallace-free-agency-nets-nba/?sct=hp_wr_a5&eref=sihp

  18. Felt, after watching the first 2 games who’s your pick to win this thing?

    • I haven’t even watched game 2 yet, because I was traveling, so I’ve no idea what adjustments were made. I think the series is extremely close, and the outcome will be determined by coaching and the health of Wade’s knee. Just like last year.

      But I wouldn’t be surprised if the highest rated finals in history goes 7 games… Which means OKC gets a win in Miami.

  19. “Was signing David Lee a huge mistake?”

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1222807-golden-state-warriors-was-signing-david-lee-a-huge-mistake

    I’m not one of those fans who thinks that DLee is both overrated and overpaid. Yes, he makes lots of $$$ but if you’re a pro athlete, and good, and Lee is definitely both, someone out there will pay you mucho dinero. GSW happens to be Lee’s “someone”. Just because he doesn’t fit the description of “superstar” doesn’t mean he can’t play the role of “superstar-like contributor” on a winning team.

    Lee has never played on a team loaded with talented players in his NBA career. The Knicks were average on their best days, and do I really have to quantify his 2 seasons with the Warriors in regards overall team strength?

    Playing alongside a healthy Andrew Bogut should finally put Lee in a position to show his true value to a winning organization/team, assuming that future draft picks, FA signings and trades by GSW do indeed surround Lee with the talent that’s been bereft in his career to this point.

    BTW, Lee just turned 29 so age isn’t a detrimental factor in analyzing his current contract, IMO. The best years of his career should be here and now, and going forward the next 2 or 3 years.

    Hopefully the Warriors future team success will be the mirror image of Lee, short on superstar hype but long on simply being very good.

  20. You can find a list of how much money NBA teams have committed in guaranteed salary next year here:

    http://www.hoopsrumors.com/2012/06/201213-guaranteed-salary-by-team.html

    Warriors are ninth at about $56 million. I’d be curious to see an evaluation of what those numbers represent in terms of genuine talent and team potential next year — and you can probably guess where I’m going with this.

  21. geraldmcgrew

    Red State Hoops: The Oklahoma City Thunder and the value of Seattle’s rage
    http://www.thenation.com/blog/168445/red-state-hoops-oklahoma-city-thunder-and-value-seattles-rage

  22. OT: Lie Detective

  23. “Look, the no-call on Durant’s shot in the closing seconds was bad. It influenced the game. So did the blocking call on Battier. So did the illegal moving pick Haslem set on Harden. Ditto for a ton of micro-level decisions that officials have to make throughout the full 48 minutes. The officiating is never going to be perfect, and over the course of a game, the questionable calls generally even out. I’m not sure Thunder fans really want an in-depth examination of every Perkins screen, and if the league does do something about flopping, Harden is going to have to change his game considerably. There is no conspiracy against your favorite team.

    If you’re going to declare that one no-call “cost Oklahoma City the game” or some such, you need to go review the rest of the game, get out your calculator and decide how many foul shots that the officials really owe each team, how many baskets each got off illegal picks, etc.”

    “One call didn’t decide Game 2 of the Finals”

    http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2012/06/15/nba-finals-heat-thunder-referees/#?sct=nba_bf2_a3

  24. Video: Interview with Damian Lillard after his workout with the Warriors.

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/pages/video?PID=ctj4cWw04fmyYd1E6m5i8euI_hQGBBfn

  25. “Then again, this summer could be different. After the season Hammond suggested the Bucks would prefer not to shake up their roster yet again, instead hoping that Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis could excel together after a solid finish to last season. No one should have expected Hammond to say otherwise–even if the Bucks are open to dealing Ellis (or Jennings), there’s not much value in admitting it publicly. But there’s also no getting around the obvious limitations of the Bucks’ backcourt, to say nothing of the possibility of Ellis departing as a free agent next summer. Presumably the Bucks’ front office likes Ellis or they wouldn’t have acquired him in the first place, and the challenge of dealing Ellis now is that it might not be compatible with improving the Bucks’ playoff odds next season. But a realistic view of of the Bucks’ roster would suggest another big trade would not only be possible, but necessary for the long-term good of the franchise.”

    http://www.brewhoop.com/2012/6/17/3093042/nba-draft-rumormill-bucks-trade-andre-drummond-monta-ellis-brandon-jennings

  26. The news about Jared Sullinger should effectively remove him from the Warriors list of names in the upcoming draft. He had question marks to begin with and now this. It’ll be interesting to see how far his stock tumbles around the league.

    —————————————-

    Sam Amick:

    In response to ESPN’s story about Ohio State F Jared Sullinger being medically red-flagged for back issues & possibly plummeting in the draft, his agent, David Falk, tells SI.com, “Jared has consulted with one of the foremost specialists of backs and spines, who has vast experience treating professional athletes. He has explained to us that Jared had extremely tight hamstrings that became tight because he had suffered an injury – that I don’t think he was aware of – to his hamstring. He needs to maintain a vigilance with his flexibility. And if he does that, and keeps his weight at an appropriate level, then he should have absolutely no problems over the next 15 years.”

  27. OT: From 95.7FM The Game

    “The Razor” breaks his silence.

    http://957thegame.com/episode_download.php?contentType=36&contentId=5902590

  28. “I think Klay Thompson will prove to be one of the best players in the entire 2011 draft class – if not the best – and he went 11th. Does that make him a sleeper? I don’t know, but you can most certainly call Isaiah Thomas the overall best value of the draft considering his production this season and the fact that he was taken with the final pick.”

    “Don’t sleep on these five 2012 NBA draft prospects”

    http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2012/06/18/dont-sleep/

  29. Sam Amick:

    To see the portion of the Phil Jackson interview with HBO where he breaks down the Lakers, takes subtle shots at Jim Buss & questions their decisions, go here >>>>>>

    http://www.hbo.com/video/video.html/?autoplay=true&vid=1264733&filter=real-sports-with-bryant-gumbel&view=null

  30. From CNBC: Mark Cuban talks about his “gambling money”.

    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000096105

  31. I’m not perfectly impartial, but I got the impression that OKC got hosed by the officiating in game 4 last night. Despite driving to the hoop all night, Westbrook shot just 3 free throws while James and Wade got 8 and 9. Durant got called for an offensive foul when the defender was clearly still moving to undercut him. Fisher “knocked down” LeBron, who was setting a moving pick before he flopped. I mean, c’mon, Derek Fisher knocked down Lebron James? James elbowed and tangled up Harden – foul on Harden. Even the announcers openly disagreed with some calls (Jeff Van Gundy is the best!).

    Officiating aside, OKC’s offensive team play disappeared in the 2nd half last night, and they resorted to individual heroics instead of moving the ball like they had at first. That was a credit to Miami’s defense, who did take every advantage they had. And Miami was solid throughout the game, and more poised at the end. I wonder how much of that was from their confidence in the officiating, but a good team won in any case.

    Conspiracy theory notes:

    Many people feel OKC is the better team overall, and predicted they would win the series. If that’s the case they just need a level playing field. If OKC wins games 5 and 6, the NBA gets max revenue from this series. So at this point the NBA wouldn’t need to slant the officiating any more. Unless there’s some follow-on benefit to the NBA in a championship for Lebron, even-handed officiating might even extend through game 7. That’s debatable. While Lebron’s is a face with marketing power, the formation of the Heat “superteam” was one of the root causes of last summer’s lockout, as it caused problems with many team owners. It’s not clear that it would ultimately be in the NBA’s best interests to have the Heat win the title.

    Place your bets now, CT fans.

    • Anthony Tolliver:

      “I swear every year pple say that the NBA fixes games & determines champion. Haha. D Stern doesn’t control RW’s brain farts! Lol. #conspiracy” Twitter

  32. “But on Tuesday night, Malone appeared on “After the Game,” with Larry Biel and was asked about the team – specifically whether he was pleased with the progress the Warriors’ made defensively over the course of last season.

    “Not really,” Malone answered. “We have a ways to go.”

    While that answer doesn’t exactly fly in the face of conventional wisdom, it’s not quite the same thing that Jackson has been saying over the past several months.

    As far as points per game, the Warriors were a better defensive team in 2011-12 than they were in 2010-11. Last season the Warriors gave up 101.2 points per game; the season before that they gave up 105.7.

    But the reality is the Warriors’ league rank in that category actually got worse. They were 27th in points allowed two years ago and 28th in that category this past season.

    “When you come in as a new staff, Mark Jackson, myself and all the coaches and you try to change a culture and change a system, that takes time,” Malone said. “And the worst thing we could have had was a lockout because it shortened training camp and you basically have no practice time as the year goes on.

    “But we definitely tried and we made strides at times. But we’re nowhere close to being where we need to be in order to be a competitive team that has to get back to the playoffs. We have a lot of room to grow defensively and offensively.”

    “Warriors Talk”

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/basketball-golden-state-warriors/warriors-talk/Malone-on-Warriors-defense–a-ways-to-go?blockID=727682&feedID=2799

  33. #7 SG Dion Waiters (Syracuse) SO 6’4 221:

    When Terrence Jones and Baylor forward Perry Jones faced off in a June 11 workout for Golden State, the Warriors were hoping that one of those two prospects would show an ability to play small forward and possibly become their pick as a result. But that didn’t happen, and I’m told that Waiters has supplanted Terrence Jones (who was slotted seventh in Mock 2.0) on the team’s wish list. Things remain fluid here (and almost everywhere else), but Waiters’ ability to make an immediate impact offensively while also playing some point guard is appealing to a number of lottery teams. The Warriors have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as their backcourt of the future, meaning that Waiters could be a good fit in his college role as a high-octane sixth man. Golden State would love to move up and grab either Kidd-Gilchrist or Robinson, but they’re unlikely to pull off such a tall order.

    Sam Amick: 2012 NBA Mock Draft 3.0

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/sam_amick/06/20/nba-mock-draft-2012/index.html#ixzz1yM6rVCpv

    • From TK:

      “If form holds and no top-tier wing drops to them, the Warriors’ pick could be another North Carolina product–big man Tyler Zeller.

      Zeller wouldn’t be a sexy choice, and he doesn’t project to be a starting NBA center. But Zeller can rebound, shoot and run and figures to be an immediate producer backing up both post positions.

      Remember, both Andrew Bogut and David Lee finished last season on the injured list, Andris Biedrins can’t be counted on even for cameo minutes, and Jeremy Tyler remains a large question mark.

      For now, it sounds like the Warriors brass has Zeller ranked ahead of the other second- or third-tier big men, including Illinois’ Meyers Leonard and North Carolina’s John Henson.”

      —————————————-

      Sam Amick has Zeller going #12 to the Bucks in his Mock 3.0:

      “With Leonard rising up the ranks to Detroit, the Bucks get their replacement for departed center Andrew Bogut by taking the ACC Player of the Year. Zeller is as sound as the big men come in this deep crop, having averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.”

      I’ve never watched this kid play but I must say I was impressed with his interview.

      • Fuzzy’s a great guy, but he was hardly a dominant center in college hoops. I fear he’ll get pushed around easily in the NBA.

  34. WH @71:

    I don’t think anyone here is arguing direct conspiracy. A pro-Lebron environment could backfire against the NBA’s other purposes and lead to a quick series.

    But OKC just isn’t doing it. They need to score points to win. The team lives and dies by Westbrook, and even after his heroics last night, I’m tired of seeing the ball in his hands. The offense is utterly predictable and they don’t seem to have a plan B or C. They aren’t working their third and fourth scoring options, as Miami, surprisingly, has done. And OKC wouldn’t have to do much here–Collison’s brief stint early on gave a hint of what they might have done.

    FB will have, I’m sure, something more sophisticated to say here after he runs the tapes.

    • I’m not sure that no one here believes in a conspiracy. FB seems convinced that the league office plays favorites.

      You’re right about OKC, though. Their offense didn’t hang together in the 2nd half, Harden was awful on both ends of the court, and Westbrook isn’t much of a point guard. He’s an amazing athlete and great player, but not a guy to count on to distribute the ball and run offensive plays. OKC looked like they were playing street ball out there.

      • I don’t think there’s any need for the league to play favorites in the Finals, but I definitely think they did in Spurs-Thunder game 6 (slotting Duncan-hater Joey Crawford; 4 horrid offensive foul calls against the Spurs in crunch time).

        On the other hand, I’m sure the league would love to see this series go 7 games, which gives them a reason to favor the Thunder in game 5.

        I didn’t watch the whole game but I think the consensus was that the Heat got the better whistle in game 4. Which is typical for the home team.

        Let’s see what happens in game 5. Let’s see if Joey Crawford is slotted, and if the ROAD team suddenly gets the best whistle, as they did in Kings-Lakers game 6.

    • I agree with you completely about Westbrook, rgg. He’s a great player, but a really bad point guard. He does the same thing to his team that you sometimes see Kobe do to the Lakers. Scoring 40 doesn’t always get the cheese.

      I haven’t been able to watch as much of the series as I would like, but 2 things stand out: 1) the Thunder have really difficult matchup problems, as I outlined above; and 2) Scotty Brooks doesn’t seem to be able to find the right combination, and is getting killed for it by the savvy people I follow (@haralobob, for instance).

      I’m curious why Brooks played Harden on James instead of Sefalosha in the last game. Didn’t Sefalosha do a great job on James in an earlier game? Isn’t he the Thunders’ best wing defender? And Harden has been terrible offensively. You have to think the energy required to guard James has a lot to do with that. Why not use Sefalosha’s full energy on James? He’s not an offensive option anyway.

      And if you’re hunting for ways to keep Perkins and Ibaka on the court, why not play some zone? Wade and James are not great three point shooters. Why not pack the lane and let them gun?

      No one is talking about Bosh, but as I forecast in my preview, I think he’s been a quiet key to this series. Bosh must be guarded. Perkins and Ibaka need not be. That is a huge reason why Battier has been open, and Chalmers has found driving lanes. And a huge reason why the Thunders’ offense has been stymied.

      Two way players win.

  35. It’s probably just me, but I’m kinda bored with the series. Miami is winning too easily, and OKC could put up a better fight. But also the game needs spicing up. I propose they introduce the sack, as in football. Draw another circle somewhere inside the three point line, say around the free throw line. Any offensive player who has the ball between that circle and the three point can be tackled and brought down. The offense keeps the ball but must inbound from half court and the shot clock is set to 10 seconds, by way of penalty. In the stats, a takedown will be scored as a sack.

    Advantages:

    1. We would see more passing.

    2. I think I’d rather see a player tackled out there than watch him bull his way into the paint and try to draw fouls, then listen to the debates about whether a foul should be called, whether it is a charge or block.

    3. Think of the moves a player like Lebron would have to create when he’s out there.

    I may have a few bugs to work out. . . .

  36. If anything, this season has been a scam. The officiating in the Finals has been scandalously in favor of Lebron, and the Heat. Coach Brooks must say to them, “Joey, they are already good, you dont have to make them better!”… Durant’s body language at the press conference was one of resignation, knowing he cannot comment about the two sided calls in favor of Miami.
    Why make the trip back to OKA. Give up the ghost in Game 5, and end the season now. Don’t provide any false hope to Thunder Fans…

  37. NBA referees are by far the worst officials of any sports. When one thinks of the number of games where their calls have a direct affect on the game’s result. No question baseball, football and yes even hockey, the officals have less of an impact and have greater accuracy in their decisions.

    Suggestion: Coach has the right to video review two or three calls a game. If the disputed call is not reversed (even a foul call, eg, a Battier flop, or missed Battier hack, or Wade/James tickie tack), the opposing team is awarded a point automatically. Before those who would say it would take too much time, think of all the technical fouls which would not be called, and the saved time there.

    Obvisously, even the reporters at the press conference are told not to complain about the lackluster officiating or else they will get banned from future press events.

  38. @DarnellMayberry
    James Harden just left the Arena following Thunder practice with his left hand & wrist heavily taped. Could be nothing. Could explain a lot.

    • Darnell Mayberry: James Harden has a left hand bruise, an injury that occurred in last night’s Game 4. He will be available for Game 5 Twitter

  39. From Ken Berger / NBA Insider:

    “What would he have to prove if, at age 27, he and the Heat were able to close out the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the Finals Thursday night for his first title? Not from the knee-jerk, LeBron-hating perspective, but objectively speaking, what would be left to justify?

    At 27, Michael Jordan had one league MVP award, no championships and no Finals MVPs — not even a trip to the Finals. If James and the Heat avoid something that has never happened in Finals history, blowing a 3-1 lead, LeBron at 27 would have three league MVP awards, three trips to the Finals, one championship and, unless LSD infiltrates the voting, one Finals MVP.

    That’s not really the point, but it is a fact. Jordan won his first title and Finals MVP in his first trip to the Finals, at age 28 in 1991. It was in his seventh season; James is in his ninth. If James finishes the job — Thursday night, or back in Oklahoma City — this won’t be revisionist history. But perhaps it will be the strongest proof yet that the perception of James’ first eight seasons was a case of previsionist history, if I may.”

    http://www.cbssports.com/nba/story/19392878/hard-not-to-like-lebrons-approach-to-achieve-undeniable-greatness

  40. “Pat Riley is known for many things, his long-range vision being one of his most well-known. Just as he spent three years plotting to assemble the greatest free-agent class in history, he’s also been planning his own exit from the game.

    The question is when to put his plan in action.

    Several times this season, the 67-year-old Riley has dodged questions about his tenure with the Heat, joking, “Where am I going to go?”

    On Tuesday night, as he received a lifetime achievement award, he said he’s “still got a lot of bite left in my bark.”

    But someday, and perhaps it is sooner than later, Riley will be exiting. After one last championship, his eighth ring in all? It’s not clear, and perhaps he wants it that way.

    Still, he remains prepared. Riley received one of the greatest compensation packages for a league executive in sports history when Heat owner Micky Arison lured him away from the Knicks, giving Riley a contract that promised him a 10 percent stake in the team. It was a part of a series of long-term contracts Riley had with enormous payouts that the billionaire owner believed he was worth.

    But after the Heat won the title in 2006, Riley began to prepare an exit. He sold his stake for millions to the team’s current CEO, Nick Arison. Then he gave up coaching in 2008. After insisting for years that he have a contract — a formality that Arison didn’t always think was necessary — Riley no longer has a contract. He’s going year-to-year on a handshake agreement. Last summer, Nick Arison was promoted over Riley in the organizational chart, giving Riley a new boss for the first time in years.

    Just a few months ago, Riley also sold the sprawling waterfront Miami mansion known as “Casa Riley,” which he had owned since 1996 — at a profit of $10.5 million — and moved into an apartment on South Beach. Meanwhile, he has completed his dream house in Malibu, even fighting the city to get the oceanfront palace just the way he wanted it, presumably because he intends to retire there. Last fall, he made sure that his closest confidant in the Heat organization, Erik Spoelstra, had a contract extension for the next few years.

    With his last masterpiece, this revolutionary Heat team, on the verge of reaching the mountaintop, will Riley be ready to make 2012 his swan song?

    Maybe, maybe not. But whatever he decides, it’s a plan he’s been working on for years.”

    “Pat Riley: The Miami Years”

    http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2012/story/_/id/8072533/pat-riley-miami-heat-years

  41. Miami marches toward the title:

    “If I hear one more person complain that officials are deciding this series, I’m going to scream so loud that somebody will give me my own TV show.

    Sure, Oklahoma City has been on the bad end of some calls. But so has Miami. In Game 4, Nick Collison got away with a blatant goaltend, and one of Kevin Durant’s fouls went to a teammate. Miami is leading 3-1 because the Heat have made the plays at crucial times and played smarter.

    For the series, Miami has been whistled for 77 fouls and Oklahoma City has been whistled for 83. That is an admittedly rudimentary way of analyzing the officiating, but it’s better than anecdotal complaints. And by the way, in the regular season, Oklahoma City committed 0.46 more fouls per game than its opponents, while the Heat committed 1.13 fewer. So the 1.5-foul per game disparity is in line with how these teams played all year.

    Also, in last year’s Finals, Miami was called for 10 more fouls than Dallas. Was that a conspiracy because the league loves Mark Cuban so much?”

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/michael_rosenberg/06/20/miami-heat-lebron-james-nba-finals/index.html#ixzz1yR9i4fIA

    • Da Nile is not just a river in Egypt. It is the no calls on Battier who hacked all series. And flops like a fish out of water.

      OKC was resigned last night as they realized the NBA finals are to basketball what the WWF is to wrestling (entertainment).

      Lebron is the King and Wade the Prince!

    • I dont want to waste too much energy in the response. It is the timing of the calls and who they are called on.

      Even more importantly, it is the non calls. And OKC got the advantage in zero out of five games. They had to play six points better just to stay even.

      Game five they clearly gave up, they knew they were cooked, as evidenced by their effort. They take their heft paychecks and go to an island for rest until next year.

      • And please dont forget the traveling by Lebron that never, never gets called. And its blatant (three step layup). Entertaining though.

  42. Sam Amico: For those asking, NBA sources say Warriors appear to be keeping No. 7 pick. May have floated it briefly, but nothing out there they wanted. Twitter

  43. June 21, 2012

    Warriors Name Chip Bowers Chief Marketing Officer

    Former Senior VP Of Corporate Partnerships & Marketing For Orlando Magic Has 12 Years Of NBA Experience

    The Golden State Warriors have named Chip Bowers as the team’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), it was announced today. Bowers, who will begin his new duties in mid-July, will oversee all marketing and corporate partnership sales & services efforts for the organization, while reporting to President & Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. Additionally, his responsibilities will include management of the team’s game operations and various digital media projects.

    “I am extremely honored to be joining the Warriors organization,” said Bowers. “Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have a vision for the Warriors organization that is very compelling and have demonstrated their commitment to building a first-class executive team. The organization is well-positioned to do great things and I am humbled to now be part of what is sure to be an exciting period in team history.”

    Bowers joins the Warriors from the Orlando Magic, where he worked the last four years and served this past season as the team’s senior vice president of corporate partnerships & marketing. With the Magic, Bowers oversaw the marketing, corporate partnerships sales and client services process for the organization, while orchestrating the sale of naming rights and all founding partnerships associated with the Amway Center – the Magic’s new arena that was named 2012 Facility of the Year by the Sports Business Journal. Under his direction, the Magic’s corporate partnership team also won the inaugural Sponsorship Activation Award at the NBA Sponsorship Meetings in 2012. He originally joined the Magic in June of 2008 as vice president of corporate partnerships.

    “We’re ecstatic that Chip is joining our executive staff as we move into this next phase of Warriors basketball,” said Welts. “Chip has established himself as an outstanding, creative and respected NBA executive who has achieved success in each role he has served with various teams, including the Orlando Magic, where he provided the franchise with leadership and vision as they made the recent transition into a new state-of-the-art arena. We will benefit from that experience as we move forward. He’s a terrific addition to our management team as we continue our quest to build a World Class organization for both now and the future.”

  44. Video: Flopping in the NBA (Steve Javie, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Breen)

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8080641

  45. Entertaining read from a long-suffering Bucks fan.

    http://www.brewhoop.com/2012/6/21/3094589/making-the-bucks-contenders

  46. From TK: Bob Myers group media interview

    -Q: Do you have any more individual workouts scheduled or are you all through with that stage?

    -MYERS: There’s some more tomorrow and Sunday.

    -Q: Who?

    -MYERS: Meyers Leonard is one of the guys that’s coming in. Who else… I think Harkless might be coming.

    -Q: Drummond?

    -MYERS: No, he’s not coming.

    -Q: You requested he come in?

    -MYERS: Yeah.

    -Q: What’s your feeling on drafting a guy who hasn’t come in for an individual or group workout?

    -MYERS: I think it’s fine. I think you’d like to see as many players as you can. Gives you another angle. Gets you a chance to sit down and talk to ‘em.

    But I’d have no issue drafting a guy we hadn’t seen because I think you do your work during the year and ultimately you draft a player because you think they can play basketball.

    And so… a simple way of saying the game is a 5-on-5 game and a lot of times you have to be careful not to evaluate a player on a 3-on-3 workout or a 1-on-0 workout because that’s not what basketball is.

    You can gain something and garnish something from when the players come and see us.

    -Q: How many players have you had in?

    -MYERS: More than 60… which I think is at the high end of what teams have done. We have been aggressive in bringing players in, I would say. This is an important decision for us at 7, 30, 35, 52, so we would invite them all in.

    If Anthony Davis would come, we would have him. So I think we’re trying to turn over every rock in regards to seeing players.

    -Q: What do you think the prospects are for trading the 7–either up, down, or for a veteran player?

    -MYERS: I think what I’ve learned is that you don’t see the best offers until you get close to the deadline. I think we showed at the trade deadline we’re not afraid to move if we like what’s presented, even though that trade happened I think a couple days before the deadline.

    Seems to me that 95% of the time teams will withhold their best offer until within a day or two or the day of the deadline.

    We’re open to moving the pick, we’re open to keeping the pick and I can tell you today on June 22nd, if we had seen something we really liked, we would’ve moved the pick. I think you can deduce from that we haven’t seen anything we really liked thus far.

    -Q: Would you like a veteran, No. 1 priority with that pick?

    -MYERS: Well, I think every decision you make in regards to moving an asset… you have to kind of look at in a broad way…

    I would say for us, the younger the better, if it was a veteran, clearly, a player that maybe has years left in his deal so you’re not immediately re-negotiating if you can help it.

    Look at all those different factors and see if it’s a fit or not… You are giving up a pretty good asset in the No. 7 pick, so you better like what you’re getting back.

    To answer your question, we are not going into this thing (thinking) we have to get a veteran player. Or we want to go young. We’re looking at it through kind of the lens of what’s going to help this team for the next 5 or 10 years.

    If that’s drafting, that’s drafting. If that’s taking a player that’ s a veteran that’s established, we’ll do that. I’m not trying to be equivocal in my answer, that’s where it is. It’s uncertain right now.

    Doesn’t have to be a veteran, doesn’t have to be the draft, could go either way.

    -Q: You guys finally broke up the Monta-Steph thing by trading Monta, could you get right back into it and draft a scoring guard at No. 7?

    -MYERS: I like size, but at the same time, we have to look at the draft and decide who we think the best player is.

    The reason I say that is, and you know Jerry pretty well, and I said this earlier, he’s kind of focused on the word “asset.” He uses that word a lot. We have to have assets.

    The reason we have to have assets is that we’re not near where need to be as a team. We need to get better. So we can’t afford to let an asset pass us by and address need in the draft. We have to be a team where, when other teams look at our roster, they see players that they’d like on their team.

    So we can’t afford to just draft at a positional need and bypass an asset. If the best asset on the board at 7 is a guard, we have to look hard at that.

    -Q: You had Damian Lillard in, what do you think of him? And what about Dion Waiters?

    -MYERS: I think both those players are good. They’ve shown they can produce at the college level.

    Lillard, seen him numerous (times), saw him, worked out in Chicago, he was here, tough kid. Both are good players. I think both are going to be successful in the NBA.

    And I can tell you that as of today, until we go through and rank what we think are the top seven players and in what order, it’s tough to say where they fit into that process with us. We’ll do that next week.

    I think both those players will be successful NBA players.

    -Q: Do you think Waiters can play NBA point guard?

    -MYERS: Yeah, I think he can play some point guard. If you look at the NBA and you see how teams play, even how the old Bulls played or the Lakers played in the Triangle…

    I don’t know that you could describe him as a traditional point guard, but can he play with another 2-guard in the back court? Yeah, I think so.

    And I think you’re saying even players like Westbrook that are very effective and some questioned whether he was a point guard. He’s been very effective playing that position.

    -Q: Are you impressed or disappointed with the possible choices at 7?

    -MYERS: You fluctuate on how you feel about your pick, is the honest answer. And ultimately, after you’ve been through it and watched all the tape and kind of had all the conversations with your group, you develop a comfort level–or not–with your pick.

    I think we’re getting close to developing a comfort level with that number. Doesn’t mean we’re going to absolutely keep it, doesn’t mean we might not trade back, there’s still a lot of variables at play. But I think we’re comfortable with the pick where it is right now.

    -Q: Comfortable with the notion that theoretically this is a six-player draft?

    -MYERS: (Laughs.) I think that’s a fair question. I think it’s better than six players. There’s more than six good players in the draft.

    -Q: Are there six elite players, though?

    -MYERS: I’d say there’s one elite. (Laughs.) But after that, I think if you look at the No. 2 team, I don’t know that they’re sure what they’re doing yet.

    -Q: What’s your role in this process? Are you making the pick and you listen to others? Are you funneling other opinions and presenting the options to Joe Lacob?

    -MYERS: I think we have a pretty talented and dynamic group. Everybody in this room knows our group. And I think the best thing about our group is that it’s a smart group and it’s a hard-working group. I think we work well together.

    Everybody is clear on the fact that it’s Joe Lacob’s team. He owns it. And ultimately the decisions that we make, he will stamp. But I also will say, in regards to that, he knows how to listen, which is a great strength in ownership.

    So I think as we sit in the room and make our decisions, I think it’s clear that Joe’s the owner and Joe’s going to make the final decision. I sit in the room and will give my opinion as the general manager.

    But at the same time being very respectful of someone like Jerry West, who’s been there a long time. Thankfully for me, specifically, I’ve known Jerry West a long time–prior to being here, I’ve known him for a long time in my other line of past work.

    And so as long as you’re in a room with people you respect and will listen, then I think you can reach the correct decision. So we’re going to be in a room together, myself, Travis, our scouts, Kirk Lacob, Joe and Jerry…

    And when we step into the room, as people like to describe it, it’s not going to be the first time we’ve discussed these players. We’re discussing them every day. It’s not as if on draft day we walk in a room and I look at Jerry West and I haven’t talked to him for three weeks and ask him who he likes, or Joe.

    We speak every day, numerous times, about who we like, about who might there when we pick… and it changes. And people’s opinions change. So as we sit there, we’re going to go into that room and go into the 28th with an idea of who we like, what we don’t like as a group, and ultimately it’s just about coming to a consensus.

    I think we did that, we’ve shown we can do it–we did it last year with Klay, we did it at the trade deadline, and I think we’ll do it again this year.

    But what I love about our group, Jerry West will tell you he’s not a shrinking violet, right? Which is great.

    -Q: Who sets up the board–do you?

    -MYERS: Yeah, I’ll write the board up there. But that doesn’t mean Jerry West is going to agree with the board, or Joe is. I may write what I think. Again, if I wrote the board today, I don’t think there’d be a ton of disagreement, but there would be some, which is healthy.

    What’s going to be enjoyable about it, with all the stress that comes with making a high selection in a draft, I do believe we have a group that works well together and is respectful of one another and will reach the right decision.

    Last year, I know it was reported that Klay was the guy really early. Well, there were days where people disagreed with that. There were days where trades were presented. But ultimately on that night, we were all in a line on Klay Thompson. And I think we’ll get there again.

    -Q: How comfortable you be as a first-year GM if theoretically Jerry has a strong opinion and you and much of the room have another and you have to over-rule him?

    -MYERS: I’m comfortable because I know him and I think whether I get to where he is or he gets to where I am, we’re going to get to the same place together. I think the question is, am I comfortable engaging him as to why I disagree? And I think I am.

    I think we can talk about it. And that’s why it’s nice to have other people in the situation, where it’s not just somebody like Jerry and myself discussing what the right selection is.

    It’s Joe Lacob, it’s Kirk Lacob, it’s Travis Schlenk, it’s our scouts… and I do believe that I would never make a selection for this team or organization where I was standing alone. I think that’s the wrong thing to do…

    But I’m comfortable engaging Jerry, talking about why he likes somebody and I may like somebody else. And to be honest, we’ve already done that. We’ve done it for the last month.

    He came to Chicago and we’ve disagreed. We’ve had healthy disagreements. But I’d say if you called him today, we’re pretty much aligned.

    So to fully answer the question, we’ve had disagreements over the last three weeks and we had disagreements at the trade deadline and we’ll have disagreements over free agency, but on June 28th, I think we won’t have a disagreement. Because we’ve gone through them over the last month.

    It’s not going to be as if there’s a brand new idea a week from today. If I wrote my board down today and Jerry wrote his board down today, I think it’d be the same.

    -Q: I’ve reported that Joe is suggesting all things equal, you draft a big guy. Chad Ford has reported that Joe wants to focus on guys with high motors. Is either correct? What has Joe suggested generally?

    -MYERS: Probably both. (Laughs.)

    -Q: Big guy with high motor?

    -MYERS: He loves size. Love when you can get size. You love competitiveness, toughness, energy. All those characteristics, you’d like to have in a player.

    And I think the reason why you see a lot of different names in place starting at No. 2, it’s hard to identify players that meet all that criteria. It’s hard for any team, starting at 2, to find a player they can check every box with.

    I think the consensus is there’s one player that people you can do that with, but after that, it becomes pretty subjective.

    -Q: How many of those boxes can you check with Andre Drummond? Do you question his motor?

    -MYERS: You asked, is there only five players, only six players? I think there’s more than that, as far as what will be successful in the NBA.

    I think Drummond will be a good player in the NBA as well. He’s young, he’s 18 years old.

    -Q: Can you take a young player like that?

    -MYERS: Sure, if we think he’s the best player, yeah, we can. We have to do what we think is right and if we think a young player will develop into being a great player, we’ll take him.

    -Q: If the draft were held today, do you have a guy who is your guy? Or is it still unknown?

    -MYERS: I think we have three guys, that I’m not going to say who they are. Maybe three guys, probably three or four guys that we think… we’re picking 7, so there are only so many different variables… probably three or four guys, but you also have a separate category that you’re not believing that this guy will be there.

    -Q: Last year when you got Klay Thompson you all seemed very excited about that. How many of those guys are in this draft–that you’d be that excited about getting at 7?

    -MYERS: I think there’s at least 7 guys. (General laughter.) That’s all that matters. I went home and told my wife… there’s a lot of stress…

    I woke up at 3 in the morning thinking about the draft, thinking about options, and I told my wife about ago, all we have to do is like 7 guys. That’s what we have to do is like 7 guys–we, not me, is like 7 guys. And I think we like 7 guys.

    Now the issue more for our organization is, how do we rank those 7 guys? That’s important.

    -Q: What do you think about a four-year college guy like Tyler Zeller, probably won’t excite the fan base very much? Can you take a guy like that?

    -MYERS: Yeah, if we think he’s the best guy for us going forward, compared to what’s presented for us, depending on what’s on the draft board… He had a really good career. Again, if we feel like on the 28th that he’s the guy for our team, as a group we feel that, we could draft him.

    There’s a group of players that fall into that category. He’ll be a good pro. You guys will all kill us if we draft him. (Laughs.)

    -Q: How much credence do you put in the grapevine stuff, that maybe Lillard is moving up, maybe Waiters… do you call up Portland and ask what they’re doing?

    -MYERS: Yeah, I know their GM pretty well. We hired him… (Note: Neil Olshey worked with Myers in Arn Tellem’s office years ago.) I called him the other day, we started laughing. You don’t expect them–he’s not going to tell me who they’re going to pick.

    But it’s interesting when you have… it’s so nice having relationships with people outside the profession because you can have an honest conversation. If I call Arn and want to know where his players are going to go, he’s going to tell me. And that’s unusual.

    You know somebody 15 years, they’re going to tell you more than they’ll tell somebody that they only know professionally for a year. So I would hope that I can have honest conversations with all the general managers… You get as much information as you can…

    -Q: How much has your board changed from the time of the lottery to now?

    -MYERS: It changes…. I don’t know if two months before the draft we had identified Klay Thompson, but then at the end, we were clear. Joe was early on Klay Thompson. He’d seen him play in the Pac-10. So if you ask Joe, and he’s right, it’s not a hindsight thing. He thought Klay Thompson would be a really good pro. He’s right.

    -Q: You said a while ago that ideally the player you get at 7 would be a starter, but if you take a big guy, that may not be the case. You OK with that?

    -MYERS: Let me qualify that: When you say “starter,” I think there’s one position where it’ll be easier for anybody, it’s the 3, for somebody to start on our roster. But when I say “starter,” you’d like to think at some point in that player’s career he’s going to start on a good team.

    I don’t think you want to go into it and we don’t want to go into it drafting a player where we think he is a perennial back up. Now whoever we draft may start out as a back up, may start out as a starter. But we want to know the player we draft, we’d like to believe, has the potential to be a starter in this league…

    -Q: Dorell Wright is the guy who is most brought up as a guy who could lose his starting job and could be out of here. Have you talked with him?

    -MYERS: I’ve talked to him. He came by and worked out. I represented him. He didn’t ask, I didn’t get into it. I talked to Mark (Jackson) the other day, I think Mark prescribes the philosophy that nobody is a starter. That everybody’s going to earn it in camp.

    I think that’s what he came up believing as a player, that every position’s open. I think you can look at our roster and say these guys are likely to start.

    But we’re not coming off the playoffs. We’re not coming off a successful season. So I don’t think anybody can walk into our training camp and say, I was a starter on a playoff team or I was a starter on a successful team. For us, it’s wide open.

    And I would say that to Dorell and I would say that to any of our players.

    -Q: What’s your philosophy on a boom/bust guy?

    -MYERS: You mean a high-risk, high-reward type guy? When you evaluate what’s there for your pick, whether it’s 7, 30 or 35… the way the NBA works, you’re drafting 18, 19, 20-year-olds. You’re not drafting finished products.

    So you have to look at work ethic, you have to look at character, and you have to build in what you think is a growth curve for that player. And ultimately believe they’re going to get there…

    I think if you look at how NBA teams are built, successfully built, it’s through the draft. I think if you’re going to take a swing, it’s hard to get players.

    It’s hard to get difference-makers in the NBA. It’s hard to get them in free agency. Well, the team that won the championship did it, but it’s a rare deal. And they don’t do it unless they have Dwyane Wade, who they drafted.

    I think if you look at ways to build an NBA team, draft is No. 1.

    I don’t think you want to go into the draft looking to hit a single with a high pick. You have to hope you can get a player, so they’re hard to get. Hard to get in trade; if you go do it in free agency, unrestricted free agency, it’s often an over-pay, unless you’re in a situation where a player will take a pay cut.

    But most of the time you want to build a team you have to build through the draft, so you better hope you get talent in the draft.

    -Q: What are you looking for in these workouts?

    -MYERS: There’s a group of us that evaluate the workouts. What do I look for? I want to see how competitive somebody is, if they’re in shape, if they’re professional, how they respond to instruction. And really, how do they play the game?

    When we do the workouts, we don’t have a long period of drilling. We get right into it. Whether it’s one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on three… you can take a great player that works out by himself, and that’s not basketball.

    You look at a point guard, you want to see the decisions he makes, how he plays in the pick-and-roll, how he gets through the pick-and-roll, how a big might rotate… and also, who gets bothered by losing? Who looks like they want to be there? Who enjoys the game? All those kinds of nuances of the workouts are things you’re looking for.

    -Q: Is trading up still a possibility?

    -MYERS: Yeah, yeah it is. Some conversations about it yesterday.

    -Q: Where does Jeremy Tyler fit in this? Is he vying for a rotation spot or do you need more time to tell?

    -MYERS: Time will tell, I think. It’s a big summer for him. Last year didn’t allow us to develop players or be around them in the off-season. Didn’t allow us a training camp. Players individually on their own in the off-season and this is a big off-season for Jeremy Tyler.

    We have a different expectation-level for this team next year as far as we feel we have a team that has some potential to win, and Jeremy will have an opportunity to be a part of that team, but it’s important for him to have some growth this summer.

    He’s been in here every day, all of our rookies, which I think has been great, have been in here working out, four days a week… That’s important…

    Him buying into that, him competing in summer league, those are the factors that are going to determine whether he’s part of the rotation or not.

    -Q: Last year was just treading water for Tyler?

    -MYERS: Yeah, you saw it. We had a lot of injuries and he was forced into action, which is great, he got a lot of experience.

    But obviously we weren’t winning. So if you’re a young player and next year we have a different expectation-level, he’s going to have to show that he can help the team win. Which he’s capable of doing, but time will tell how he fits.

    -Q: Would you be interested in Brandon Roy–your old client–if he’s coming out of retirement?

    -MYERS: Yeah I’d look at him. That’s a possibility. He’s an easy phone call.

    -Q: Any contact with him?

    -MYERS: I told him when he was amnestied, I said, look, I hope this isn’t it for you. I said, make sure this isn’t it. He said publicly he wants to come back. So I’ll certainly talk to him.

    Depends on how everything goes for us or what his expectations are and all that. But absolutely I’ll talk to him.

    • Sounds like they won’t even let Larry Riley into the room.

      • It does sound like that, and it seems strange that Myers doesn’t even mention the Warriors’ head of scouting as part of their talent evaluation team.

        Besides, while Riley obviously didn’t assemble a winner and made a lot of mistakes, he did (at least officially, as GM) sign Lee and Kwame Brown, made a good trade for Brandon Rush, and drafted Curry, Udoh, and Thompson (and Lin, and Jenkins). He organized the rushed cattle call in December’s training camp well enough to improve team depth significantly. And he solved numerous issues by dumping many of the Warriors’ problem contracts and personnel – S Jackson (twice), Harrington, Maggette, Brandan Wright, Marcus Williams, Jamal Crawford and Bell, to name a few – albeit with deals which didn’t improve the Warriors but did free up salary and solve other issues.

        But I guess Myers thinks Riley doesn’t have an eye for talent, or much to offer on the business side. Strange. Why keep him on the payroll? As head of scouting?

      • Anybody else feel there’s been a whole lot of talking going on but little of consequence is going to happen?

        It sounds fairly clear that Lacob will have the final say.

        “Chad Ford has reported that Joe wants to focus on guys with high motors.”

        Maybe we can get Lou back?

        • Agree, rgg.

          Myers hasn’t even talked Brandon Roy yet? Why the hell not?

          Tyler’s season ended months ago. So how is he doing so far this summer?

          etc., etc.

          Myers is either intentionally stonewalling the interviewer or he’s clueless. I wonder which.

        • I am reminded of committees where I’ve had the misfortune to serve, where the sharpest, most experience minds get pushed aside.

          “Everybody is clear on the fact that it’s Joe Lacob’s team. He owns it. And ultimately the decisions that we make, he will stamp. . . .
          So I think as we sit in the room and make our decisions, I think it’s clear that Joe’s the owner and Joe’s going to make the final decision. . . . But at the same time being very respectful of someone like Jerry West, who’s been there a long time.

          “And so as long as you’re in a room with people you respect and will listen, then I think you can reach the correct decision.”

          Everyone will get a say to no end, except perhaps to divert a good decision, and it will be a matter of what West can argue (and I’m not sure I agree with a lot he’s said–can someone pick this up?) that can get passed Lacob, who will have the final say. It’s a formula for lowest common denominator decisions.

          • Yeah, from where we sit the Warriors’ decision-making process on new players looks like a system guaranteed to deliver nothing but safe picks.

  47. Warriors Roundtable Podcast: Draft Preview Edition (includes conversations with SCurry and ABogut)

    http://soundcloud.com/goldenstatewarriors/warriors-roundtable-podcast-5

    • I’m with Cuban on this! Sportswriters like Skip Bayless too often make up story lines about player psychology rather than doing any real analysis of games or game strategy. That’s not reporting, it’s storytelling.

      You see it in local media, too.

      “Dorell Wright doesn’t have his act together this year!” But after getting torched by Wright all last season, opposing coaches planned to prevent his corner 3 this year. And he averaged about half the playing time as well.

      “Monta Ellis always demands the last shot!” Um, doesn’t the coach select the final play?

      “Ellis chooses not to play defense!” Gee, that’s not what I see. This season he single-handedly shut down most of the top PGs in the league.

      “David Lee can’t play defense!” He doesn’t block many shots, but shucks, he only outscored AND outrebounded almost every individual opponent he faced, all season long. Not bad for a defensive softie.

      And so on.

      Let’s hope ESPN takes Cuban’s criticism to heart. It would be great to get some more honest, accurate and detailed analysis in sports coverage. And I for one could easily do without all the phony, superficial speculation about team spirit and player psychology.

  48. The bookmakers took a hit on the 2012 NBA Finals. The smart money came in on the Miami Heat, and the wise guys cashed. (Those who picked Heat in 5 struck gold with a 6.5-to-1 payoff.) “Even though throughout the whole season the Heat were one of our biggest winners in future positions, unfortunately for us we lost it ll back to the bettors on the series price as the Heat opened as plus-145 underdogs, and in turn, in all five games, the majority of the public money came in on Miami,” said Bevin Bradley, manager of the Bovada.lv sportsbook. “It was not the best result for us.”

    http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2012/06/22/odds-to-win-2013-nba-champinship/

  49. Rusty Simmons:

    Warriors general manager Bob Myers on Friday made his most definite comment ever on swingman Brandon Rush. “We have a restricted free agent who we really like, and who we’re going to keep.” In other words, opposing teams need not sign an offer sheet with Rush. The Warriors are matching any offer.

  50. “Thus ends the Whore of Akron’s quest for a ring: with a ring. I fully expected him to win it last year, and was glad when he didn’t and gladder to see him choke while trying. His failure then was epic, but no more so than his triumph now. I don’t have to like or respect a man to acknowledge his talent and accomplishment. Way to go, shit-heel.

    Times are always tough for Cleveland fans. The thieving bastard Art Modell won a Super Bowl after absconding with the Browns to Baltimore, and now we’ve seen The Decision rewarded with an NBA Championship. Neither event hurt as much as any one of the combined 30-year series of hideous season-ending playoff defeats suffered by the Indians, Cavs, and Browns, and I have no doubt that if any of those teams won a championship, Art Modell and LeBron James would be reduced to little more than footnote status.

    I often console myself by thinking pretty thoughts about how sweet a victory parade would feel after so many years, but find far more satisfaction in family, friendship, and work, not because I think that sports fandom is but a trivial thing — no way, no how — but because a Cleveland fan knows the taste of hope is only an appetizer for despair. The Cleveland die-hard knows that the only escape offered by his teams is into an alternative reality more grim and bitter than reality.

    It may seem odd, but I don’t feel grim or bitter about LeBron’s ring. He won that thing. I do feel sad. I still believe that the Cavs would’ve won at least one title had he stayed, and one title in Cleveland would have cemented his legacy — not merely in the place where he was born and came of age, but everywhere he still inspires heartfelt contempt. He won that, too — earned every measure of derision — and no ring will ever make it go away.”

    http://www.esquire.com/the-side/lebron-james/championship-2012-9947333#ixzz1ydfoPG17

  51. From GSW.com: Tim Roye talks to Frank Madden of brewhoop.com (good listen)

    http://soundcloud.com/goldenstatewarriors/frank-madden-of-brewhoop-com

  52. From MT: Meyers Leonard at #7?

    http://bit.ly/MMBOqt

    • From the link:
      “Bulls General Manager Gar Forman, who called Deng in from holiday for a meeting earlier this month, is understood to have offered the Warriors Deng and the 29th pick in the NBA draft on Thursday for centre Andris Bierdrins, small forward Dorrell Wright and the seventh pick in the draft.”

      ?????????????????????

      I checked the date of that post, and it’s not April 1.

    • But Deng is going to need wrist surgery, and he’s waiting until after the Olympics. . . .

      • From ESPN (pretty much the same info as provided in the link posted by PeteyB but with a few extra tidbits to mull over):

        But Deng, 27, did acknowledge that he’s not dismissing recent reports suggesting the Bulls are willing to trade him for a top pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, with speculation mounting that Chicago could send Deng to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for the No. 7 overall pick.

        Former NBA guard Speedy Claxton, now a scout for the Warriors, attended Britain’s practice at the Toyota Center on Sunday afternoon.

        http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/8090830/chicago-bulls-luol-deng-says-surprised-trade

  53. “New rules will shake up economic landscape in free agency”

    By the time the clock strikes midnight on July 1, all that’s left of the lockout season will be the scraps of confetti left over from the victory parade in Miami. But it will ring in the start of free agency for the first time under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement that the NBA hopes will change the landscape of the league.

    There will be significantly greater revenue sharing and raised penalties for exceeding the luxury tax threshold. Contracts will be limited to four years for free agents changing teams and annual raises capped at 4.5 percent, no sign-and-trade arrangements that helped facilitate the moves of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami.

    What does it all mean? In short, that this year’s plum, Deron Williams, still gets to hit the jackpot and it’s going to cost a whole lot more to keep being the Lakers.

    “I think the new CBA is going to change the market,” said Larry Coon, ESPN contributor and salary cap expert. “When you look at the financial model that’s been put together, things will clearly not be the same as under the old agreement.

    http://www.nba.com/2012/news/features/fran_blinebury/06/22/free-agency-rules/index.html

  54. This Mock Draft has the Warriors taking 2 PGs in the first round. That ain’t happening.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/y-sports-draftexpress-2012-nba-mock-draft-no-205400187–nba.html;_ylt=AvRstlCSjcK8Kvk7LzatYo68vLYF

  55. From Bucks Beat:

    “Golden State at 7 is also receptive to making a trade. The Warriors are in the market for a small forward. Barring a major move, the two draft prospects the Warriors are targeting — Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes — are likely to be gobbled up before their pick.

    The Warriors realize this and are exploring trade options. Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala would be a nice fit, but the 76ers want more than the Warriors’ top pick. Chicago’s Luol Deng and Indiana’s Danny Granger are also on the Warriors’ radar, but the asking price for them may be a bit too pricey as well.

    A more reasonable target for Golden State is Milwaukee’s Luc Mbah a Moute. On the surface, he could perhaps be the best fit of all for the Warriors. If you examine the composition of the Warriors’ starting lineup, they have an arsenal of scorers. What they truly need is a prime-time defender on the wing and there are few better than Mbah a Moute.

    The Bucks may be reluctant to deal Mbah a Moute, yet where does he really fit into the Bucks’ plans? He only started 23 games last season, partly because of a sore knee, and the Bucks still have Mike Dunleavy, who is coming off an outstanding season, and an intriguing young player in Tobias Harris. What’s more, they could still keep Carlos Delfino, who’ll become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

    Would a package of Mbah a Moute and the 12th pick be enough to nab the Warriors’ seventh spot, along with another player for salary-cap purposes? Perhaps.”

    http://www.journaltimes.com/sports/basketball/bucks-beat-looking-to-move-up-in-draft/article_4da2110e-be90-11e1-b57d-001a4bcf887a.html

  56. From Sam Smith of Bulls.com: Deng likely staying put

    http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/smith_120625.html

  57. From nbadraft.net:

    Jerry West Loves Tyler Zeller

    We hear that Tyler Zeller has entered the mix for the Warriors at the 7th pick because Warriors executive Jerry West loves him.

    Seven seems awfully high for a player that many projected as a mid-late first coming into the season.

    The team could always look to trade down a few spots to the 10-12 range and likely still be able to grab him.

    http://www.nbadraft.net/draft-buzz-5

  58. “NBA Trade Rumors: Who’s On the Block?”

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-trade-rumors-whos-on-the-block

  59. “NBA draft prospect Damian Lillard aiming to continue Oakland point guard legacy”

    http://www.mercurynews.com/other-sports/ci_20934425/nba-draft-prospect-damian-lillard-aiming-continue-oakland?source=rss

  60. “Seeking out this draft’s franchise players (and busts)”

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/seeking-out-this-drafts-franchise-players

  61. Tim Kawakami: I heard last night that the Warriors’ #7 is in play as Houston tries to line up the Orlando/Dwight offer. Twitter

    Tim Kawakami: Heard from a GSW source yesterday afternoon that “nothing too interesting” was going on then. I’ll bet it’s getting interesting now. Twitter

  62. From Rothstein Files: This And That Around The 2012 NBA Draft

    “Syracuse guard Dion Waiters is unlikely to slide past the Warriors at number seven according to several sources with knowledge of the situation. The 6-foot-4 Waiters could also be in play for Portland at number six but word is he’s not getting past Mark Jackson and Golden State — the entire organization loves his game. If the Warriors add Waiters, it would give them one of the more explosive young perimeters in the NBA with he, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson.”

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/06/26/rothstein-files-this-and-that-around-the-2012-nba-draft/

    • From sheridanhoops.com: Latest Mock Draft

      #7. Golden State Warriors – Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse

      This pick is available and the Warriors want to move it. If no trade is made, then Golden State will likely draft Waiters, who has been soaring up boards all season. Waiters can provide Golden State with production off the bench and is a tremendous slasher and scorer around the basket. While the Warriors might prefer a big or small forward, there are none that merit being selected here.

  63. My thumbnail scouting report on Waiters (caveat: derived strictly from highlights, I don’t watch college basketball):

    Against: Undersized at NBA 2-guard at 6-4″. This is a rather serious handicap in my view, as 6-4″ 2-guards frequently struggle in the NBA, both in getting their shot off over 6-6 players, and in guarding 6-6 players who are just as quick as they. This handicap has been overcome on occasion, however: see Dumars, Joe.

    Pro: His build and athleticism remind me of Dwayne Wade (just an inch shorter). His game reminds me a bit of Wade’s as well. Terrific defender, on the ball and off. Great floater in the lane. Perhaps a BETTER handle than Wade’s (and certainly better than Lin’s). Goes to his left well. Got the left to right killer crossover. Finishes drives with both hands, going both left and right. Great feel for the backboard, which I always associate with high intelligence and gym rats (eg., Mullin, Hardaway, Curry, and yes, DWade).

    Looks like a gifted outside shooter, with the previous caveat. Nice midrange stop and pop as well.

    And looks to be a terrific passer, with a great feel for the game. Unselfish.

    At 6-4″, he’ll have to have a lot of heart and desire to become a starter, and not fall into the Ben Gordon mold. But he’s already distinguished himself from Gordon by his defensive and passing ability.

    This is the boring video (no music, grainy quality). But I found it the most informative:

  64. W’s working out Barnes and Drummond now… They may be falling…

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/2012-nba-draft-diary

  65. Maggette/conditional pick to Detroit and Ben Gordon to Charlotte… What will Charlotte be doing with #2?

  66. “Andre Drummond, blank slate”

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/46693/andre-drummond-blank-slate

    I’m like Felt, I watch next-to-zero college hoops so I’m just going on what scouts are saying along with some of the videos I’ve been posting here. It’s obvious there’s a lot of talent in this draft but how that talent will translate to the pro game is, as always, the real question?

    Drummond is scary in both potential and risk. I’m not sure I’d take that risk if I’m the Warriors, but I can’t say I’d be critical of their choice to use their #7 pick on him if that’s indeed their ultimate decision.

    Yes, the Warriors need some insurance (and depth) for Curry’s “situation” but I’d still rather go “big” with that lottery pick.

    I like what I’ve seen of Terrence Jones (and HBarnes but unlikely he’ll still be available) but my pick would be Meyers Leonard despite the fact that most seem to think taking him at #7 would be a bit early.

    However this works out I’m pumped that the “new season” for GSW is about to begin. Along with the “good” they now have in place they need the good luck part to round everything out for the future. So far (last year’s draft, coin flip with Toronto, ping pong balls) so good in that regard.

  67. NBA Today podcast (This was linked in the above article about Andre Drummond but in case you skipped over it I highly recommend listening. Great insights into some of the bigger names in the upcoming draft.)

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=8098478

  68. #NBADraft Source tells me the 76ers are trying to move into the top 10; trade talks have started between them and the Golden State Warriors. Andre Igoudala is probably involved. Keep in mind this is unconfirmed.

    • Hope the Sixers can take Biedrins (they really need bigs there)/R. Jefferson and D. Wright and #7. W’s not in a good position to add more salary.

      Curry/Thompson/Igoudala/Lee/Bogut
      Jenkins/Rush/Jefferson/McGuire/Tyler

      Add 4 players – Draft 3 and a full-mid level for a 1/2 and a 4/5.

  69. FORD: If Kidd-Gilchrist falls to the Warriors at seven, I think they make the playoffs in 2013.

    SIMMONS: That’s not fair. You just got the Warriors fans’ hopes up — they’re sitting there reading this piece and minding their own business, and out of nowhere, you set them up for yet another massive disappointment. The poor Warriors fans even get stomach-punched in hypothetical NBA drafts.

    ———————————————–

    SIMMONS: So we have Drummond falling to the poor Warriors fans at no. 7? This is terrible! They already did the Kwame Brown thing; now they have to do it again?

    ————————————————

    SIMMONS: Speaking of toxic, I can’t pass on Andre Drummond for Golden State’s no. 7 pick. It’s just too perfect. Three months ago, I covered Golden State’s 60 steps to push its fan base to the point that owner Joe Lacob got lustily booed on Chris Mullin Night. Tanking the last month of the 2012 season while adamantly pretending they weren’t tanking — that was Step No. 61. Ending up with a potential heartbreaker like Drummond as the fruit of their tanking labors — that’s Step No. 62. It’s destiny. I love how much I hate this pick.

    Quick question: I know it makes too much sense, but if Drummond is the last “blue-chipper” sitting here, why wouldn’t the Warriors move backward and grab two first-rounders from Houston (14 and 18) or Boston (21 and 22)? Everyone agrees it’s an especially deep draft, and that someone taken in the teens or even the early 20s might end up being one of the draft’s best picks. Why not double your odds on striking gold over rolling the dice on Kwame 2.0? Isn’t that what Bill Belichick would do? (Is it too late to bring Belichick into Golden State’s war room?) Or do you think Drummond is worth the risk at this specific point?

    FORD: If the draft actually plays out that way and Barnes and MKG don’t slide, they may very well do that. They really wanted a starting-caliber small forward and Drummond goes against everything owner Joe Lacob says he wants (players with great motors who play hard all the time). With that said, I wonder if we are being too hard on Drummond. He’s very young, has the best NBA body/athleticism in a big man we’ve seen since Dwight Howard and at the very minimum should be able to rebound and block shots at the NBA level.

    SIMMONS: (Thinking.)

    (Still thinking.)

    Nahhhhhhhhh.

    FORD: He’s not a bad kid. He just doesn’t know that he has to work at this to get great. But many of these players don’t know that. If he gets with the right team and mentor and dedicates himself to becoming a good NBA player — he could do exactly what Dwight does and start dunking over everyone. Dwight is the only player in the NBA with his physical abilities. I understand why you’d shy away from him in the top five, but he’s more physically talented than Kwame, Darko or Thabeet. It wouldn’t take much for him to have a successful NBA career. He just has to try some. I’ll gamble on that.

    SIMMONS: Let’s remember that line of reasoning when I take Perry Jones five picks too early in about 12 paragraphs. In a vacuum, I’d agree with you on Drummond. Every summer, you smartly hammer home the concept of “tiers” — clearly, Drummond is the last talent in this “potential All-Star tier” before things drop to the Dion Waiters/Austin Rivers/Terrence Ross group. I just think he’s the wrong fit for the Warriors specifically. When you have that much baggage already, you can’t take a player with that much baggage — it’s like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters. If he’s sitting there at no. 7, let’s hope they trade the pick for everyone’s sake.

    —————————————————-

    Yes, Bill Simmons is at it again with his “woe is me” references to the Warriors and their fans.

    Doesn’t BS have Clippers season tickets? You know, the team with the biggest buffoon on the planet for an owner and the most overhyped and overrated “star” in the NBA (BGriffin)?? The team that’s never won an NBA championship and undoubtedly never will??? Bill, you got the “woe is me” arrow pointed in the wrong direction. LOL

    Yes, I know he’s a Boston-lifer in the sports world but doesn’t he realize it’s bad karma to own Clippers season tickets and make fun of ANY other team in sports? The Curse of the Celtics has just begun. :)

    From Grantland >>>> NBA Mock Draft: Ford vs Simmons

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8100861/view/full/welcome-fourth-showdown-two-guys-care-nba-more-do

  70. “NBA scouts talk draft prospects” (I know white men can’t jump but I still really like both Zeller and Leonard)

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/seth_davis/06/25/NBA-draft/index.html

  71. From ESPN:

    The Warriors are preparing for a number of scenarios at No. 7. Depending on how things go on draft night, Barnes, Andre Drummond, Damian Lillard, Dion Waiters or even Kidd-Gilchrist could fall to them. The Warriors like all of the above, but like every other team in the NBA, not everyone agrees on the order. Warriors consultant Jerry West, sources say, has Waiters ranked quite high. Owner Joe Lacob feels like it might be tough to pass on Drummond if he’s there. GM Bob Myers, is a Barnes fan. Everyone agrees that Kidd-Gilchrist would be the guy if he falls. There are also Lillard supporters in Golden State. This is why mock drafts are so difficult to make. How are we supposed to report to you what teams will do when they don’t know themselves?

  72. 06/27/12 7:55 PM EST – Alex Kennedy:

    With the 2012 NBA Draft less than 24 hours away, the rumor mill continues to churn. Here’s the latest:

    The Golden State Warriors hold the seventh overall pick, but they haven’t fallen in love with any of prospects in their range. The Warriors are weighing their options and are seriously considering moving up, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes their most likely targets. Golden State is also working the phones and considering trades that would yield a veteran small forward.

  73. From MT: Warriors likely staying at No. 7 or trading down a few spots in NBA draft

    http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_20953998/warriors-likely-staying-at-no-7-or-trading?source=rss

  74. Harrison Barnes = Brandon Wright? Many similarities here. Everyone sees potential, but what we get is less. I watched Barnes in a few games and wondered.

  75. “Jared Cunningham has become a coveted player at the back end of the first round to early second. The former Oregon State guard shut down his workouts but was in Atlanta for an interview Tuesday. Atlanta, Charlotte and Golden State have a lot of interest. But so too does Boston and the Celtics even have interest in acquiring an third first-round pick to possibly get Cunningham.”

    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/blog/_/name/katz_andy/id/8104180/news-notes-nba-draft

  76. How about this Mock? (Kidd-Gilchrist #8 and Harrison Barnes #28)

    http://hoopsanalyst.com/blog/?p=890

  77. LeBron and Letterman

  78. Quiz: Test your GSW knowledge (My score was 16 out of 20 for a B grade. You guys should be able to easily beat that. I choked under pressure. :) )

    http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_20956299/quiz-test-your-golden-state-warriors-knowledge?source=rss

    • 14 out 20 for me. Would have been like 3 out of 20 if it wasnt multiple choice.

      Steve, where you gonna be hanging out later today? Think I’ll be over at Adam’s. It’s crazy how slow my PC runs when I’m on this blog and there are over 70 or 80 posts. Wading through maple syrup I tell you!

      By the way, here is my pick:

      With the number 7 selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, The GSW’s select…A GUY WITH NO TATOOS! (see Curry, Thompson, Lee, Bogut, Jenkins)