Tag:Pop Quiz
Posted on: August 25, 2010 12:01 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 9:14 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: What teams might take a tumble?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

  What teams are set for a drop in success?

Maintaining excellence for an extended period of time in professional sports isn't easy. Even the big spending, big market clubs have to make the right moves, retain players and keep putting a product on the field or floor that can win.

There are ebbs and flows with teams every season and in the NBA this year, we might begin to see a little shuffling with some of the familiar successful faces moving down the line in the standings while others move up.

So who could be moving down? Who might be dropping off a bit in 2010-11? Here are four candidates:

Phoenix Suns
It seems like every year, we're all waiting for this to happen. But every year Steve Nash defies the laws of aging, has a terrific season and keeps the Suns moving. But there was a constant variable in all of those seasons the Suns saw success - Amar'e Stoudemire. For the first time in eight years the Suns will be without Stoudemire, a player that worked perfectly in Phoenix's up-tempo style and Nash's pick-and-roll ability. Now in 2005 the Suns were without Stoudemire who underwent microfracture surgery, but that was with Nash still in his prime and with a ton more depth.

This time, the Suns replace Stoudemire with Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick, two capable players but obviously not to the caliber of Amar'e. If Phoenix intends to stay in the top tier of the West, a player with have to elevate his game. Maybe that's youngster Earl Clark. Maybe Robin Lopez continues his improvement. Maybe Warrick becomes the new Amar'e playing alongside Nash. Hedo Turkoglu is a new addition, but judging by his play in Toronto last year, he might not be a big help.

Phoenix will still be a good team and a likely playoff team, but with Nash's age and the downgrade in talent on the roster, the Suns might be looking at the beginning of the end.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Didn't they lose someone? Oh right, Delonte West and Shaquille O'Neal. Talk about starting over, you guys. Oh yeah, and that other guy too.

The Cavs are at an impasse they didn't see coming. Others might have seen the writing on the wall with LeBron, but The King's departure was a brick in the face to Cleveland fans everywhere. Any time you lose the face of your team, the face of the league and the best player on the planet, you're rebuilding by default.

The Cavs do have some quality players still, because instead of laying dynamite around the roster, the Cavs have decided to try and strive for mediocrity. And in the East, most of the time average is enough to get to the postseason. But this is a team that had won 60 games the last two seasons. The Cavs lost their star, their coach and their general manager. It's a time to start over for the Cavs and Anthony Parker and Joey Graham probably aren't going be the pieces that maintain the regular season excellence in Cleveland.

Toronto Raptors
Bryan Colangelo tried. He tried to shuffle things around and put together a respectable roster after the loss of Chris Bosh that could possibly stay where they were. But let's face it: Even with Bosh, the Raptors weren't exactly in the upper echelon of the East. With a failed trade for Tyson Chandler that would've moved Jose Calderon and a mishap in trying to sign Matt Barnes left the Raptors with a young roster that will struggle to win games.

Colangelo did do himself a favor by moving Turkoglu's contract, but he also gave Amir Johnson too much money and trading Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright doesn't do much for anyone. Toronto may be in the basement in the East and while it's not like they're falling from the top of the East, the Raptors are likely headed for a drop.

Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets aren't actually on this list... yet. But they will be, if (or when) they lose Carmelo Anthony. Reality is, any time you trade a superstar, you never get an equal return. I mean, how could you? Who's going to give back a top 5-8 player in the league or three players that equal Anthony's ability?

If Denver hangs on to Anthony for the season, it'll be business as usual for the Nuggets. They'll be good, they'll make the playoffs and will have a chance to advance a few rounds. But if they lose 'Melo, then it'll likely be a trip into mediocrity for Denver. The team hasn't enough talent in Nene, Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin to stay afloat, but in the West where it's win 50 or stay home the last two weeks of April, it would be tough for the Nuggets to do that. And of course reports are that J.R. Smith might be moving out as well. The Nuggets are facing a potential restructure, and while the roster is in tip-top shape now, it likely won't be come November.

Posted on: August 24, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 9:14 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Is this Don Nelson's last ride?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this brain teaser...

Is this Don Nelson's last ride?


Do you realize Don Nelson's been in the league since 1962? As a coach since 1976? We're not talking, "he's been in and out of the league," either. We're talking at some point every single calendar year, Don Nelson has been on the payroll of a professional basketball team since 1962 (with less than a handful of hiatuses in between). With all the stress, intensity, drag, and confusion of the NBA, no wonder Nelson has adopted an... unorthodox strategy and attitude towards his job. In that time, he's won the most games in NBA coaching history, with teams in Milwaukee, Dallas, and Golden State.

But as the years have gone on and Nellie's teams have not only failed to achieve success, but have failed to adequately develop the athletic young talent they've drafted, the Heat has risen on the now-70-year-old coach of the Warriors. New ownership is in place, and they have brought with them talk that they may want to go in a new, younger direction. Nelson has said he'd like to finish the last year on his contract, but understands if they go in another direction. So the question may not actually be if this is Nelson's last ride, but if he'll be able to get on the horse to begin with.

As the Mercury News reports , the timing of the sale's finalization may leave no viable alternative to keeping Nelson on. However, there's ample precedent to removing the remainder to get a clean slate as soon as possible. Assistant coach Keith Smart could take over the team with the same run-and-gun system and the team can see how it goes. Then, if a change is still desired, the regime transition can be made on the schedule new ownership desires.

So what are the pros and cons of keeping Nellie for one last hurrah?

The benefits are largely built around stability, and the hope for a repeat of 2007. Nelson's success has been marginal, but when the team gets itself together, it can push the ball like no other, and that chaos gives teams fits. Keeping Nelson for his final year means that there won't be any drastic changes to what they know they can get from the players who have excelled under Nelson. A change risks those players taking a step back and struggling to adjust to whatever new wrinkles are implemented. And despite the numerous personal conflicts that have arisen with Nelson, he has become close to the players, including taking a number of them out for a beer last year. Insert joke here. But with as many young players as the Warriors have, that kind of relationship could be dangerous to disrupt, even if in general it's not ideal to begin with.

And that pulls us into the cons. You can talk about wins and losses, but for new ownership, for a team looking to change its direction, wins and losses aren't the first and foremost concern. Instead, they are likely focused on how the team develops. And that's been a dramatically lacking area for Nelson. Brandan Wright, Anthony Randolph, Monta Ellis, the list goes on in regards to players that have found themselves in Nelson's doghouse without any clear path out. While Stephen Curry excelled last season, his natural talent is going to get the bulk of that credit. (Hey, it may not be fair, but it's how it is. Ask Bulls fans who was responsible for Derrick Rose's progression, Vinny Del Negro or Derrick Rose.) Then, when we're past all that, and the win-loss record isn't good. Nelson's system is fun to watch and has its moments, but it also compromises fundamentals of winning basketball like defense. And defense. Mostly, defense.

But most importantly, Lacob and company have made it clear that they intend to turn over a new leaf with this team. That means a new direction and that means a new coach. The clock is ticking for Nelson in Golden State. He's made little to no noise about continuing his long ride after this horse is done with him. This really most likely is the end of the road for Don Nelson's historic career. We'll have to see if he's got any more tricks left in the bag on his way out.

 
 
 
 
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