So folks, how does that saying go? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure? We know your average NBA fan gets disinterested in the last two weeks of the NBA season. Understandably so. A lot of sandbagging going on. However, we at BanginthePost love the end of the NBA season. Good teams, bad teams – it doesn’t matter to us. For instance, this year only two teams were going full throttle the last two weeks seeking home court advantage. Those teams were the Chicago Bulls and the LA Lakers. The Bulls clearly succeeded as they now have the #1 overall seed. Even though San Antonio was able to hold on to the #1 seed in the west, we feel the Lakers #2 seed bodes better for them considering the matchups. We’re pretty sure certain coaches (see Rick Carlyle) are kicking themselves for premature sandbagging. Stay tuned for more in our upcoming Playoff Prognostications Post.
On the flipside, we also enjoy watching the bottom feeders at the end of the season. Teams out of the playoff picture are typically playing younger players and looking toward the future. To the layman, these games seem meaningless. But to us, it’s a look into that particular team’s crystal ball. Even the most hapless of teams usually have a player or draft pick forthcoming to keep their fans hopeful for next year. Take the Timberwolves. Worst record in the NBA. But perhaps they’ve discovered a cornerstone to build around in Kevin Love. The Kings clearly have two young studs under the age of 21 in Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. And most likely a new town and arena will generate great enthusiasm for next year. The Clippers, after decades of disarray, now have a true superstar to draw fans and build around in the future. Even the Cavaliers made progress with the Baron Davis deal ensuring two lottery picks in the 2011 draft. We’ve always been able to find a glimmer of hope for any franchise at the end of the season. Until now. We got nothin’ but gloom and doom for the folks of New Jersey.
One man’s ruble is another man’s rubble! Yo Jay-Z – word of advice from BanginthePost – get out while you can. There was tremendous hype last year when Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov officially became the New Jersey Nets majority owner. Shortly after arriving in Jersey, Prokhorov promised Nets fans an NBA championship within 5 years. Hey, why not aim for the stars, we thought. Way to go, Mikhail! There were two nice pieces in point guard Devin Harris and center Brook Lopez, lottery draft picks forthcoming, tons of cap space, the greatest free agent pool in NBA history, and excitement about the team’s plans to relocate to Brooklyn. Holy crap – how things can change in 10 months!
How did things go wrong so fast, you ask? Let’s do a quick recap of our friend Mikhail’s first 10 months with the franchise:
Mistake #1: Hiring Avery Johnson as the new head coach. Oh, gosh, how can we say this without being rude? Avery Johnson is a shitty NBA coach. And he’s annoying. And short. Unqualified to be head coach of the extremely talented Dallas Mavericks, he lost the 2006 championship to the inferior Miami Heat. The following year, his team goes into the playoffs with 67 regular season wins and ends up losing to the 8th seed Golden State Warriors. People said it was a bad matchup for the Mavericks. Yeah, it was. Avery Johnson versus former mentor Don Nelson.
Mistake #2: Wasting money on D level players like Jordan Farmar and Travis Outlaw when he could have saved his cap space for future top tier free agents. In desperation, after failing to land a LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Boozer, they went from Plan A to Plan F.
Mistake #3: The grotesque three month courtship of Carmelo Anthony. Prokhorov’s obsession to bring in a “star” put him on every other team’s dope radar. Who would trade 2 starters and 4 future #1 draft picks for 1 selfish ball hog? Just when NJ fans thought they were saved by the Knicks’ acquisition of Carmela, the Jazz pounced on Prokhorov’s penchant for big name players and stole Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and 2 #1 draft picks for Deron Williams (who, by the way, will end up in Dallas after the 2012 season).
Sometime around January 2012 when the NBA resumes after the lockout, New Jersey fans and ownership will realize they have one decent player in center Brook Lopez, a star whose departure is imminent in Deron Williams and no upcoming early round draft picks. Prokhorov’s 5 year plan for an NBA championship is now an impossibility. His billion dollars would have been more useful in baseball where a Dwight Howard or a Deron Williams could be bought. But, in the meantime, he has set this franchise back about 10 years in his 10 months. So, Jay-Z, time to cash out those rubles.