Posted by Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5 with KB, we see if the Celtics have time to get things right, if the Lakers should be concerned at all, and who needs Kyrie most?. All this and more in this week's Friday 5 with CBSSports.com's Ken Berger.
1. Boston gets rolled by Chicago, and you write about how they're searching for an identity right now. Is the first round going to be easy enough for them to find it? Will the playoffs heal all wounds?
Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: I'm not so sure it's that simple with Boston this time. I do think if Doc can get the combinations right with the second unit, featuring Green, Krstic and Delonte, the Celtics can have a better second unit than they've had in the past. But without Perkins, they're going to struggle against bigger teams. It probably won't matter in the first round, and the value of gaining some confidence shouldn't be underestimated. But Boston has more flaws and uncertainty than they've had entering any other postseason with the Big Three.
2. The Lakers are stumbling backwards, and pretty much laughing it off. Is there any conceivable reason for the Lakers to try through these last four games, other than not messing with ticket holders?
KB: At this point, it's about finding the right balance of rest and sharpness -- especially where Kobe is concerned. Phil is a master at achieving this balance. Popovich is another coach who comes to mind who is great at it.
3. Knicks are a little banged up, and not deep at all to begin with, as we head towards the playoffs. What would be a reasonable result that would be considered a "good" end to the Knicks' season?
KB: The Knicks have many of the same flaws that they possessed before the trade -- lack of size and depth and no lockdown defender -- so a quick playoff exit shouldn't be considered a referendum on the Melo deal. I think stealing a game on the road in the first round would be a solid building block. Getting swept in four close games wouldn't be terribly disappointing or unexpected, especially against Boston or Miami. The fact is, whatever happens in the playoffs, the Knicks are ahead of where anyone could've reasonably expected them to be when Donnie Walsh took over for Isiah. They tore it down to the floorboards in two years, and have two superstars to build around going forward. If Anthony is engaged at both ends and Stoudemire is healthy/rested, they could create some real problems. But you have to take the long view.
4. Kyrie Irving came out in the draft this week. He's our No.1 overall pick. What lottery team needs him the most?
KB: Cleveland, for sure. The Cavs need to parlay one of the picks they've stockpiled into a superstar, and Irving fits the bill. They also have a good record of developing young players and a veteran point guard in place, so they don't have to rush Irving -- who clearly will need some seasoning. Minnesota, Toronto and Utah are the others. Sources say there's no way Irving slips past No. 4. Wolves GM David Kahn's confidence that Rubio is coming will be put to a serious test if Irving is on the board when Minnesota picks. With a lockout coming, it would be franchise suicide to pass on a talent like Irving and then have Rubio stay overseas.
5. NBA owners meeting next Friday. What are the hot points that could come out of that meeting?
KB: Depending on how long it takes for league execs to review all the documents associated with the Pistons sale, which was finalized Friday, that could come up for a vote -- but league sources say it there's no chance things will be ready in timen. If it can't be put to a vote next week, owners could always vote by other means at a later date. The other issue up in the air is the Kings' relocation. As of Friday, there was still nothing final to vote on. Much of the discussion figures to center around everyone's favorite topic, labor.