A Word from our Sponsors

Friday, November 2, 2007

The NBA Shake-Up Principle

Gilbert tied it last night, and then his team decided to lose it for him.

Well, no one says the guy wasn't trying. In fact, he thinks he's trying very hard, and now is not afraid to say it.

I was talking to my colleague, jamoros, who runs Terp Soup (what is the deal with that history stuff, who writes that?), about the Wizards upcoming season. I know the first game doesn't really mean much, but you know you suck when you lose to the Pacers and Mike Dunleavy Jr. C'mon, man.

After thinking about it, and reading Bill Simmons' NBA preview, mostly for entertainment value, I believe that the Wizards will make the playoffs, but simply aren't set up to succeed once they get there.

I think they will be helped a lot by the "Roster Shake-Up Principle," a principle that I am officially committing to record.

A team that makes no drastic roster moves before a season is guaranteed to do no better than the season before, and often will end up worse.

Pertinent Examples:
- 06-07 Miami Heat
- 04-05 Minnesota Timberwolves
- The Pistons since their Championship in '04 (Darko doesn't count; Chris Webber is closest)
- 07-08 Cleveland Cavaliers... just watch...

It might seem that the Wizards would be hurt by this principle, given that only Nick Young qualifies as a major move, but the two corollaries to this principle are youth and injury (Michael Jordan used to be one as well). The "Big Three" (Arenas, Caron Butler and Antwan Jamison) hardly played together at all last season, and until Arenas and Butler went down in succession, the Wizards were cruising!

That said, I think that their lack of defense will hurt them, because playoff teams have great defense (see Pistons, Spurs). Brendan Haywood is pretty much busted, and Andray Blatche is going to have to make a BIG step to make this team a real contender.

Other observations, mostly based on the Shake-Up Principle:

- Spurs don't repeat; they succeeded last year mostly based on the return of a healthy Tim Duncan after plantar fasciitis, which he might still suffer from. They may still be strong, but their team is too old and walking on too many eggshells for me to say they're a title team.

- Suns seem like a trendy pick, but besides Grant Hill and D.J. Strawberry (who, despite my man crush, is not ready to be the solid role player yet), they haven't done much. Steve Nash's back isn't getting any better, and I predict he'll be out of the NBA in two seasons.

- Kevin will love this: Go Celtics. Their infusion of new blood was bold and they'll hate in two years, but this team will cruise on enthusiasm for at least a few months. You can't underestimate the power of momentum and raw desire. Those guys want that title. Even an injury won't kill them ... unless it's Garnett. But do you think this man will let an injury hold him back?

- Sleeper team of 07-08: The Bobcats. Yes, absolutely ridiculous. There's no reason to believe they'll stay healthy (and it's already hurting them), but I think that between Wallace, Okafor and Richardson, this has the makings of a team capable of a Warriors-type run. The D will be good and inside scoring shouldn't be a huge problem.

I know this will probably make me look like a fool next spring - you know, when the real season starts - but who knows? Just watch them 'Cats and you never know... MJ might have some magic left in him.

No comments: