Greetings! Back to the grind after we all got a little Easter weekend break. Having fun watching the NBA Playoffs and here are Seven Thoughts on the NBA for today.
1. A BIT SURPRISED? (MEMPHIS & NEW ORLEANS): a) I don't know about you but I'm surprised to see the Grizzlies up 2-1 on the Spurs - not surprised they've won a game but to be leading the series? Good for them - outstanding perimeter defence and their bigs (Zach Randolph & Marc Gasol) are tough to deal with. I said it a few weeks back, head coach Lionel Hollins has done a terrific job with this club, particularly with the absence of Rudy Gay. His guys play hard and he holds them accountable. b) Who had the Hornets going into Game 5 tied 2-2 with the Lakers? No David West and they're tied? Wow! If you did, please advise me on how I should play the Stock Market! I've been lukewarm to warm about the play of Chris Paul this year despite the numbers that look good on paper, but last night's performance of 27 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds was vintage Paul and when he feels like being the best player on the floor (and he needs to do this more often and be more aggressive) he's wonderful to watch. Once again, a small point guard dominates a game. The NBA has changed so much with the tighter perimeter rules and Paul is an example of a guy taking advantage of it.
2. TIMEOUTS: I don't know about you but considering the fact that these teams have only been together for close to seven months of close to 100 games, countless practices, video sessions, walk thru's, etc., don't you think that as professional coaches and athletes that they can do WITHOUT so many of the timeouts that we witness in these games? Micro-management to the umpteenth degree. I'm totally cool with the idea that television pays a part of the salaries for all of us in the league. With that being said, there has got to be a better and more efficient way to move these games along faster than we do now. Just venting I guess - and that's coming from an ex-coach.
3. SACRAMENTO KINGS: Anaheim or Sacramento? I'm rooting for the good folks of Sac-Town. I know the arena issue is a problem that has to get resolved - kind of like the Seattle-Oklahoma City situation of a few years back. By the way, the Chairman of the NBA Relocation Committee? Mr. Clay Bennett - owner of the (you guessed it) Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly Seattle Sonics - gotta get a team back in Seattle!). Hopefully, what's right and fair for the fans of a wonderfully supportive town get considered for a change and minds greater than mine figure out a solution here.
4. MIKE D'ANTONI - Knicks: His team gets swept by the Celtics and we're not sure if President/GM Donnie Walsh will be back and with D'Antoni entering the final year of his deal in New York the speculation is swirling of whether he'll return. Should he? I say yes. Before the Carmelo Anthony trade I thought he did a nice job with his team and after the trade it's been some good and some bad. I think he deserves a training camp and some time to work through totally new dynamics to try to make it work. If not, and if Toronto Raptors President/GM Bryan Colangelo returns (as he should, in my opinion) then the rumour mill will start churning out the reunion of the successful Phoenix pairing. Indecision in both New York and Toronto on the part of ownership unfortunately will create speculation. Can anyone just make up their mind if they want people back or not?
5. TRISTIAN THOMPSON & CORY JOSEPH (Texas Longhorns): The two Toronto-area freshman have declared for the NBA Draft. Luckily, neither has hired an agent yet. Take your time and make sure you listen to the people who tell you what you "need" to hear rather than the knuckleheads who tell you what you "want" to hear. Making that next step to the pros is a big one, above and beyond what goes on between the lines. Make sure you're ready! Good luck to both and do what's right and not what you consider to be the popular choice to friends and family. If you're not assured of being a high pick (Thompson has the better chance at that), think twice.
6. BRANDON ROY (Blazers): What an amazing comeback by the Blazers the other night to tie the series with the Mavs at 2-2. When Roy is healthy (doing better of late) he's still a joy to watch because he's one of the more complete young players in the game who can defend, pass, handle, score, rebound and make clutch plays under the gun. He has "IT". He might not be off the charts in any one category but he's good and efficient at lots of them.
7. ANDREA BARGNANI: I found Bryan Colangelo's comments about him at a press conference last Monday to be quite revealing when he spoke about his rebounding and defence. Was I surprised by it? At this stage, no. Bottom line, when a player that you've bent over backward to try to nurture and bring along and develop and show support and patience with continues to frustrate/perplex you and puts your own livelihood on the line, you tend to say enough is enough. If Bargnani returns to the Raptors next season, he not only owes the organization, the fans, his teammates and himself a lot more, he owes Colangelo and Jay Triano greater commitment to everything being asked/demanded of him. He's been treated very fairly and at times they've enabled him too much. He has let them down. The "kid gloves" are rightfully off now and obviously should have been off way sooner. It's now or never. As a man, you look in the mirror and question yourself and what you stand for at this stage. Congrats to him on having a career year in points per game but how does it feel to be on a 60-loss team? Time to respond to the challenge. He CAN do it. Will he? Your guess is as good as mine.