The End of the Bench

Basketball blog with takes on basketball and anything related to basketball . . . as well as a haven for jingoists everywhere - in America.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Sam I Am . . . Your New Coach

Maybe this is how Sam Mitchell will introduce himself in Toronto. No word yet from Mitchell, himself, on whether he likes green eggs and ham. The team said it had no comment on his breakfast preferences.

McGrady to Magic Official After Francis Patches Up Simmering Feud With Mickey Mouse

Okay so I made the Mickey part up, but it was gonna be a boring link if I didn't. If you want my take on the trade go here.

Thursday, June 24, 2004
It's About That Time . . .

It's the annual EotB Draft Post. So without further ado, the picks.

Round One
1) Orlando Magic - Dwight Howard: Anyone else think that if there was still a chance of keeping Tracy McGrady, the Magic would have gone for the help now and picked Emeka Okafor? The way things are going in Orlando, Howard may have to wait a few months to meet the people he'll actually be playing with.

2) Charlotte Bobcats (from LA Clippers) - Emeka Okafor: Is it me or does Okafor scream Elton Brand? Just a guy who will never be a superstar, but will be a good solid player for many years. No one will argue with this pick - much . . .

3) Chicago Bulls - Ben Gordon: This one comes as a bit of a surprise. Matt over at Bulls Blog saw the future a bit here. That's the good news for him. The bad news is he doesn't want him because of the problems it creates on defense. He wanted Andre Iguodala, who averaged about 12 points a game last year. The fact that Iguodala is a lottery pick is more a commentary on this draft than him I think.

4) LA Clippers - Shaun Livingston: And this year's Clippers project is . . . Shaun s also the highest pick from this year's "Feed Me Seymour Club." By the way, is it just me or does everyone think that Livingston will never be anywhere near what he might have been had he not had the misleadership (I think I just made that word up) of the Clippers? Also, should Shaun just change his name to Keyon Dooling Jr. now, or should he wait a few years?

5) Dallas Mavericks (from Washington Wizards) - Devin Harris: The trade that got this pick to Dallas was Antawn Jamison and cash (reportedly 3M) for Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner, and Harris. Harris may want to hold off on getting a place in Big D for a while, although David Aldridge says that Marc Cuban says he's staying). Personally, I'll believe it when I see it. Also, does anyone find it odd that Washington is stockpiling former Warriors? The Warriors couldn't win with them, what makes the Wizards think they can? As for Harris, everyone's pretty high on him and Cuban is supposedly saying he's the point guard of the the future. It's just a matter of who's future . . .

6) Atlanta Hawks - Josh Childress: Again, when you watched Josh Childress in college, did anyone really think he was a lottery pick? He's good, but again, it's a commentary on this draft. And yes, I do have troubling giving any credit to a Stanford player. Moving on.

7) Chicago Bulls (from Phoenix Suns) - Luol Deng: Again, quick details on the trade. Suns get #31 and cash, Bulls get #7. Basically the Suns didn't want to pay the first rounder. Chad Ford says Deng got a bad rap as being unathletic. There was a lot of talk about Deng to the Bulls a couple weeks ago, but it was widely thought that they had cooled on him. Apparently not.

8) Toronto Raptors - Rafael Araujo: What? Ummmmm . . . I can't even begin to describe how this happened. However, I do know there was a Babcock involved. So maybe I shouldn't be surprised. This one comes straight out of the Isaiah Thomas Draft Handbook (Fred Jones at 14 anyone?). I think this quote from Ford really says it all: "He's strong, aggressive and isn't afraid to beat up people." For the record that translates to, "He will be Danny Fortson with less rebounding."

9) Philadelphia 76ers - Andre Iguodala: The good thing is he won't need to shoot to be effective according to Chad Ford. Good, cause he wasn't getting that many shots with Allen Iverson around anyway. He's a good defender as well. I don't think he's gonna be great, but a lot of people had him higher than this. Although in this draft, does that mean anything?

10) Cleveland Cavaliers - Luke Jackson: Another Pac-10 guy. Shoots well and can drive. Lots of talk, though, that he could be moved to Indy for Al Harrington so we'll see.

11) Golden State Warriors - Andris Biedrins: Do you think I could put money down now on Golden State will take a semi-obscure foreigner earlier than he should have gone in the first round, or do I have to wait to do that? Biedrins is the first Latvian draftee, and also supposedly the first Euro banger.

12) Seattle Sonics - Robert Swift: Yet another guy for Brent Barry to go clubbing with? Can I lay money on the Sonics will pick a white guy for Brent Barry's clubbing posse with too?

13) Portland Trailblazers - Sebastian Telfair: I had the following conversation about this pick with Ben, friend of the Bench and Blazers fan:
TIM: Telfair
TIM: hahahahahahahaha
That pretty much says it all. Another one straight out of the Zeke Draft Manual.

14) Utah Jazz - Kris Humphries: I MUST find someone to take a parlay of Utah will pick a big white stiff and the Seattle and Godlen State bets. Humphries is rumored to be a selfish player, which makes him an odd fit for Utah. I hope he is, just so I can have a year of quotes from Jerry Sloan like the bombs he kept dropping on Deshawn Stevenson.

15) Boston Celtics - Al Jefferson: I got an idea. We have no one that can legitimately play center, so let's take an undersized power forward. What is this, the Knicks? Memo to Paul Pierce, the future isn't now it's in 3 years for the Celtics, so run quickly.

16) Utah Jazz (from New York Knicks from Phoenix Suns) - Kirk Snyder: I think this is a good pick since Raul Lopez has no knees and Juan Stockton is still pretty inconsistent. Can't hurt to have a good backup who could develop into the starter fairly soon.

17) Atlanta Hawks (from Detroit from Denver from Milwaukee) - Josh Smith: Ummmmm . . . yeah. Chad Ford says he's athletic, which is code for doesn't know how to play the game.

18) New Orleans Hornets - J.R. Smith: Big, good shooter and touted as perhaps the most NBA ready of all the high schoolers, which of course explains why he went 18th. I think "NBA readiness" is inversely proportional to "potential" in the minds of NBA people. At least now New Orleans may be able to get David Wesley out of the lineup. He's good, but he shouldn't be starting.

19) Miami Heat - Jameer Nelson Dorell Wright: Who is this guy and can anyone explain why they didn't take Jameer Nelson? Can anyone explain what Nelson was doing available down here? This draft makes no sense.

20) Denver Nuggets - Jameer Nelson: Nelson got traded to Orlando for a future first rounder. I kind of questioned this when it was done cause the Nuggets have two good PGs already. But the Magic have zero (no Tyronn Lue doesn't count). So Nelson should be able to help immediately. A good situation for Jameer and especially his son. What three year old doesn't want to live that close to Disneyland?

21) Utah Jazz (from Houston) - Ivan Drago Pavel Podkolzine: The Jazz couldn't let me have the joy of them keeping both BWS (big, white stiffs) and traded Pavel to Dallas where he can befriend Shawn Bradley for a future first rounder. If only Raef LaFrentz was still around. Pavel went 3/2 a game in the Italian league. Personally, I think you should grab at least 7 rebounds by accident if you're 7-5 and playing in the Italian league, but Ben insists he's young and he'll be good.

22) Portland Trailblazers (from New Jersey) - Viktor Khgefgdlkajsgd: The winner of this year's draft spelling bee award goes to Viktor. Chad Ford doesn't know if he's an NBA type player. Now if he said this about an American player, I'd question it. However, the one thing Chad does know is Euros. If Chad doesn't predict you in the lottery and you're a Euro, you aren't that good.

23) Portland Trailblazers (from Memphis) - Sergey Monya: I admit, I know nothing about him, but his pick did provide me with a laugh solely because of the ESPN studio staff who provided this gem: "He platooned with Khgakjsdgakj at CSKA Moscow, and they split time . . . "

24) Boston Celtics (from Dallas) - Delonte West: Is it me or is West basically Ringo Starr with a little more talent. By that I mean very, very lucky. Ringo had the luck of very talented friends. West has played with a great point guard who got him easy shots and took pressure off him and turned it into a 3 year guaranteed contract. He's good, but he's another one who I watched and never really thought of as a first rounder. Although you could say that about pretty much this entire draft.

25) Boston Celtics (from Detroit) - Tony Allen: The Celtics are saying that West and Allen are the second best SG and PG in the draft respectively. Sure they are . . . maybe if you add the word undersized before the positions in that sentence. Even then it may be a stretch.

26) Sacramento Kings - Kevin Martin: Hearing the descriptions it sounds like they redrafted Gerald Wallace.

27) LA Lakers - Sasha Vujacic: If you're a Lakers fan, has Slava Medvedenko made you fear acquiring Euros? I hope no one tells Sasha he's a year or two late for the dynasty. He might go back to Europe. Sasha's supposed to be a good shooter, but it doesn't matter cause Kobe won't pass him the ball anyway. Normally a pick this far down doesn't matter, but in this draft who knows?

28) San Antonio Spurs - Beno Udrih: I have no idea who this guy is. Next.

29) Indiana Pacers - David Harrison: Well, Harrison is tall. There were questions about his focus. Hey I got an idea. Let's stick the guy with the questionable attitude near Ron Artest. I'm sure that will work out fine.

That concludes the first round. This year there will be no second round post, mainly because I barely knew half the guys in the first round. Instead you get Tim's fun thoughts of the draft to take you out.

--- I was disappointed by the low turnout in this year's draft for the "Mix in a Steak" club. Shaun Livingston was the only member from this class.

--- If a Jim Gray talks in a forrest, does everyone still not believe him?

--- Me and Ben were discussing how we hate Dick Vitale and wonder whether he is a racist for hatin on the Euros so badly or simply incredibly overzealous advocate for the college game, and then he mentions he's going to a race seminar over the weekend.

--- 8 high schoolers and 6 Euros . . . in the first round - guess the backlash is coming next year Dickie V.

--- Here is a score card for the trades so you can keep track at home.

--- Who thought that new Memphis logo was a good idea? Hey, we got this intimidating name. Let's make our logo the most unintimidating anime looking bear face ever created. You got The Logo as your GM. Why not make the team logo Jerry West sitting a desk on the phone? At least then you'd intimidate other team's front office. At least it's someone.

--- When did Seattle become the Sonics and not the Supersonics? I didn't even know til the David Stern robot had a glitch in his program, called them the Supersonics and then corrected himself.

--- The strike through the text is my new favorite toy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Shaq a Clipper?

Peter Vescey says they are the front runner right now with an offer of Elton Brand, Corey Maggette and Melvin Ely. Note that if a trade is done before July 16th, Brand has to okay it and if it is before the 29th of July, Maggette must give his okay. Now this by itself wouldn't work. There would need to be some cap filler, but that is something both teams have. It's an interesting idea, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Rocket Man

Here's the details:

Rockets get: Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, and Reece Gaines

Magic get: Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and Kelvin Cato

Now here's the deal with the trade. It is dependent on none of the involved getting taken in the expansion draft (which happened). I also was under the impression that it had to wait until Steve Francis' base year compensation status was up (I think around July 1st), but the trade checker on RealGM disagrees.

As for the on the court aspects, this is a steal for Houston. Orlando gets a bunch of guys who shoot a lot from the outside and a guy who is Ben Wallace lite. Francis and Mobley are good, but still. Reece Gaines may have some value, but him and Lue are really cap filler (as is Mobley to some extent). The keys in the deal are Francis and McGrady. The Rockets end up without a good point guard, but whether Stevie Franchise is really a point guard is a debatable.

Here is how the PER works out. The guys Houston got have a combined PER of 53.4. The guys Orlando got have a combined 43.2 PER. Hell, Reece Gaines PER wasn't even counted because I couldn't find it (he was not one of the top 50 PER PGs, which is probably a bad thing). Now granted adding PER isn't a great measure. I mean would you really want to add an 8 PER to your team? But it was the best I could do with ten minutes left before dinner. Anyway, it appears that Houston got the better end both before and after my PER math is used.

Thanks, but no thanks

82 games and 4 playoff series were enough basketball for Ben Wallace and Rip Hamilton apparently. Michael Redd is now supposedly the next on the list to be asked. Nevermind that he should have already been on the team - yes, I'm looking at you Richard Jefferson.

Simmons' Annual Trade Value Ratings Part I

I'll reserve comment on this til I see the rest of the list, but this is a good, funny Simmons' column.

Expansion Draft

The Cats drafted 14 players, some of which have already departed.

Jahidi White - Phoenix gave the Cats $3M and a future first rounder to take on White's contract which is up at the end of the year.

Marcus Fizer - Fizer wanted to get taken and the Bulls aren't crying to see him go. He didn't really fit into the Bulls' plans. The real reason Fizer probably wanted to get picked is because he is an restricted free agent and by getting picked becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Peja Drobnak - The Clips gave up the #2 pick in this year's draft for the #4 and the Cats taking the Drobber off their hands.

Aleksander Pavlovic - Taken solely so he could be traded to Cleveland for another future first rounder.

Primoz Brezec - Young and cheap.

Jamal Sampson - See Brizoc, Primoz.

Zaza Pachulia - See Jamal Sampson.

Brandon Hunter - See Zaza Pachulia.

The following 8 guys were restricted free agents and are now unrestricted since they were chosen. I doubt many if any will play a game in Charlotte.

Richie Frahm, Loren Woods, Tamar Slay, Jeff Trepagnier, Lonnie Baxter, JR Bremer, Maurice Carter and Desmond Ferguson

Before the draft there was a rumor that the Cats were gonna draft either Malik Rose or Aaron McKie for the Knicks. However this didn't materialize. Before I would have bet that Rose would have been the Knicks guy. I mean they only have 3 or 4 undersized power forwards and Rose could be that one more that got them over the hump, ya know?

Saturday, June 19, 2004
Exodus Part II

So my first Exodus post got this response from reader Platocave:

"Sorry to kind of troll, but it looks like Charley Rosen was right about Kobe after all, huh? Looking at the "incompetent Kupchak" post you linked to, I've got to respond to one your comments and say that yes, in fact, Kobe can be selfish while taking too few shots - it's a question of motivation more than the particular action he takes. That's what passive/aggressiveness is all about. And I'm surprised that you didn't link to this article:, which would be another columnist (besides Rosen) and and another player (perhaps the most important player) slamming Kobe's team play, maybe unfairly, but not untruthfully. Yes, Kobe is skilled - Rosen admitted that he'd take him in a pinch anyway - but you have to admit that Kobe's not all there up there."

You have no idea how much this pains me, but maybe Rosen was right. Mind you, this doesn't mean I trust Rosen's judgement. I mean this is the same guy who said that LeBronn was doomed to fail after seeing exactly one of his games. But I'm adult enough to admit that in this case, the old codger does appear to have been right.

As for the Shaquille O'Neal interview with Tom Friend - good god, Diesel was spittin' fire. You all really gotta read it. It took a mere week for Kobe to become the official scapegoat of the 2004 NBA Playoffs. The funny thing is that it won't hurt his contract value one bit.

As Bob Marley Said . . .

In LA we have an exodus. Karl Malone already said he is gone and the list of those leaving keeps growing. It's no secret that Kobe would probably opt out of his contract this summer. He has now confirmed it. Phil Jackson has stepped down as Lakers coach. Shaquille O'Neal wants to be traded because he doesn't have faith in Mitch Kupchak's master plan. I could have told him Kupchak was incompetent a while ago. Derek Fisher and Gary Payton also can opt out of their deals. Fisher must decide by Thursday. As for Payton, no one is gonna give his ass $5M, which is what he is due if he stays. So if it's about money, he should definitely stay. If he is about winning, then LA probably isn't the place to be.

So just for fun, say everyone that can get out does. Here is your new Laker starting lineup:

G Kareem Rush
G Bryon Russell
F Luke Walton
F Brian Cook
C Slava Medvedenko

Now granted, there would obviously be some new signings and draft picks and whoever the Lakers got for Shaq, but isn't that sad even for a second unit?

Friday, June 18, 2004
Yet another apology

"We plead guilty your honor, but with a really good excuse . . ."

You can take my picture off the milk cartons now. It's been a busy two weeks. I've gotten a new job, my sister graduated, and I've been living in the living room for the last week or so while my relatives stayed in my room. Needless to say, my computer access was severely restricted. But you knew I couldn't stay away during draft time . . .

Draft Week!!!!

It is just under a week til both the expansion and entry drafts which means one thing here at EotB - MOCK DRAFTS!!!!

Here are a couple to get you started. Mock Draft
Dwight Howard first and Okafor second . . . interesting.

NBA Mock Draft
Okafor then Howard. Get the feeling there really isn't a concensus? Also have Josh Childress going to the Sixers at 9. Not sure my Cal roots would let me root for a former Stanford player.

And the results are in . . .

And in the KnickerBlogger pick your playoffs contest, I came in tied for second after losing the tie breaker. I'll take it. Hey it could have been worse, I could have been Matt from BullsBlog :)

Albert and MSG Network part ways

How do you give ultimatums like that to your announcer of three decades? Much like RadioShack, the Knicks seem to be very well mismanaged.

Pistons 4, Lakers 1

Wow. I can believe that the Lakers lost (even though I did pick them to win it all), but the way that they lost - well that's another thing. They completely rolled over in an elimination game. You wanna know what the stat of Game 5 was?

Darko Milicic - 2 minutes played

You know the game is out of hand when Darko gets in. Also, didn't it seem wrong to name an MVP from the Pistons? To single out one guy on a team that is pretty much based around everyone, just seemed wrong. Particularly when it was Chauncey Billups. Don't get me wrong, he played well. But personally, I probably would have picked Ben Wallace. That was a Herculian effort in Game 5 and he was strong the whole series on the boards and on D.

Other related stories from the recently concluded Finals:

NBA Finals ratings highest in 3 years
Nothing people love more than Goliath falling down. The David Stern robot must be enjoying this.

Injury could keep Milicic from Olympics
I couldn't make this stuff up. This is a close second on the unintentional comedy scale to Darko's bandaged ears.

Malone declines $1.65M option
That flight out of LA couldn't have left fast enough for Karl. The only way he could have gotten out of town faster was with two good knees.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Pistons 69, Pacers 65

Wow. The side inbound with about 10 seconds left to play was one of the most egregious defensive lapses I've ever seen with a game on the line. No one, and I mean NO ONE, covered Ben Wallace. He was just sitting under the basket and there wasn't a Piston within 10 feet of him. I saw him curl around the fence and head for the basket and no one followed him. He was sitting under the basket for a second or two before the inbounder even noticed. I mean, wow.

Other notes: Tayshaun Prince came up with another big block. Al Harington tried to go right over him and Prince simply stopped the dunk attempt cold.

And last but not least, Ron Artest displayed his usual sound judgement by giving Rip Hamilton a forearm shiver to the face after he thought Hamilton took a cheap shot at him with a butt bump. So everyone who picked 5 minutes left in Game 6 of the Conference Finals in the when will Ron Artest go upside someone's dome pool, you can come down to collect your prizes.