Category Archives: The NBA Ramblings

15 NBA Coaches Already On The Hot Seat

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It doesn’t take long before talk of the hot seat and NBA coaches starts. Part of this is the normal coaching carousel in professional sports and part of this is the urgency placed on success, or at least improvement, from the start of season.

This off-season shifted two of the best players (LeBron James and Kevin Love) to the Cleveland Cavaliers while the Los Angeles Lakers lost big time in free agency, ending up with an overpriced Kobe Bryant and spare parts. Still, a lot remained the same. Dallas Mavericks retooled, the Los Angeles Clippers added supporting role players and the San Antonio Spurs kept their dynasty intact.

There are two ways a coach makes the “hot seat” list. First is by his team underperforming. If you have a team of veterans and are expected to compete, you must do so or the loyal fans will be calling for your head in no time. The second way is if the coach is just not a good fit for a team. Sometimes a coach can’t get his team to play hard, or buy into their system. Either way, you are losing a season.

Who doesn’t make the list? Stan Van Gundy (Detroit Pistons), Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics) and Jason Kidd (Milwaukee Bucks) have each inherited young squads that will need time. Both coaches are proven and despite expected struggles, have both shown leadership qualities for their rebuild projects.

Read the full post at TheRichest.com

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Loser: Milwaukee Bucks HOPE and Optimism for 2013-14

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Here we go again, but this year it’s going to be different, I HOPE. Sure the Bucks are fighting for the eighth spot, but this year it’s not an “All In” scenario, it’s building for the future. (Note: Any time trading for J.J. Reddick is considered ALL IN should send red flags shooting out of your ass!)

FRONT COURT
Let’s start with the potential superstars. We already know Larry Sanders is a defensive monster and there is HOPE that John Henson will join him soon. Two defensive stoppers on the front line is a great start to building a championship caliber team. Next, let’s talk about kid nicknamed the “Greek Freak”, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Is it too early to know what this eighteen year-old will bring? Absolutely. Is it too early to compare him to Toni Kukoc? Not for Bucks fans with lots of HOPE. There you have it – three youths full of potential. Throw in Ersan Ilysova, a known commodity, and I’m giddy. Shit, we need a back court.

BACK COURT
The HOPE here is addition by subtraction. Remove the gunners (Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis) and replace with more responsible ball handlers. Wait, Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo are gunners too! My response: At least they will attempt to play defense and get to the rim more than their predecessors.

COACH
Larry Drew has a reputation as a Players Coach. I have no opinion on this. The Bucks have gone through so many “Players’ Coach”, “Disciplinarian Coach”, and “X’s and “O’s Coach” iterations over the past years it’s difficult to say what will work. Since Don Nelson, only George Karl has had consistent success. That leaves A LOT of coaches that have come and gone through the Bradley Center turn-style. Early reports indicate Drew will try and get out and run with this group, giving them a fighting chance. Love this idea, in theory.

MANAGEMENT & OWNERSHIP
Every year John Hammond turns over this team, you can’t do that every year. No one needs Giannis and/or Henson to show promise more than Hammond. I have been brainwashed to think Hammond can take a lot of “good” players and make a great team ala the Detroit Pistons a few years back. Each year – oh who am I kidding, I look at the roster this year and with the right chemistry believe this team can be great. Damn you Hammond and your brainwashing! Herb Kohl continues to support the Bucks staying and needing a new arena. With a lot of push back I believe it’s going to take a significant private contribution from someone, hopefully it’s not Microsoft or Starbucks.

X-FACTOR
I’ve got nothing here. Youth? Chemistry? Bango? You tell me.

PREDICTION
Given the number of teams already committed to tanking I think the Bucks will find a way to win 36 games. This assumes the current team is able to score more than 60 points a game which isn’t certain. Final prediction I have the Bucks finishing 36-46, good for ninth place and a .000002% chance at winning the lottery. Man I HOPE we win the lottery!

Go Bucks!


NBA 2013-14 Preview

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Tis the season for team recaps so I’m taking a lighter approach.  Here are some VERY off-the-cuff predictions and comments on the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season.

After a year of regression, injury, and a LOT of drama, a down year from Dwight Howard could remove him as a lock for the Hall of Fame…

Despite all of the moves to acquire veterans, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks must put their differences aside, get along, and combine teams.  Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, and Tyson Chandler starting with Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire off the bench would be incredible.  Not too mention the luxury tax implications from having a $300 million dollar roster.  Seriously though, it’s still the only way they are over-taking the Miami Heat…

So the whole “going to win this with a lot of good not great players” is still the attitude in Indiana?

I am hopeful that instead of “center” or “power forward” the words “comedy relief” will be printed next to Oden and Beasley in the Miami Heat media guide…

It will be fun to watch post-game interviews for every game the Philadelphia 76ers win.  They will be so pissed (due to the orders to tank), but have to force a positive smile…

The Milwaukee Bucks finally disassembled their fringe playoff team and started over, building an team expected to compete as a fringe playoff team…

Training camp always breeds optimism.  Go Wizards!

Easy to see L.A. Lakers are way too dependent on a couple aging veterans and have glaring defensive holes.  The over/under on Kobe Bryant team blow-ups has to be around 25, right?

On the flip side the L.A. Clippers are looking to ignore their franchise curse and compete for a championship.  So, I’m just going to say it: How long until something tragic happens to Chris Paul?  Three weeks?

The Kings are staying in Sacramento and not moving to Seattle.  Still not sure how this is possible, but yeah Sacramento – you keep the team you used to like, but don’t really like anymore…

Russell Westbrook will miss the start of the season, putting a lot of pressure on teammate Kevin Durant.  After losing Harden last year, let’s keep a close eye on the frustration meter…

Despite everything going wrong this off-season in Laker land, the team still considers themselves a championship contender.  I disagree but am giving the Lakers an A+ for training camp optimism…

How long before Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban tries to sell a stake of his team on Shark Tank?

 

West Teams that are going to rock – Spurs, Clippers, Thunder

West Teams that are going to be horrible – Jazz, Suns, and Kings…

West Teams no one cares about – Timberwolves, Nuggets, Pelicans…

 

East Teams that are going to rock – Heat, Bulls, Pacers

East Teams that are going to be horrible – Bobcats, Magic, and 76ers…

East Teams no one cares about – Hawks, Raptors, Bucks…

 

Prediction 1: The Miami Heat struggle with injuries

Prediction 2: The Indiana Pacers beat Miami in the playoffs (2nd Round)

Prediction 3: The New York Knicks beat Indiana…Just Kidding

Prediction 4: Pacers vs. Clippers in Finals (Note: Imminent Paul tragedy is postponed 1 year)

Prediction 5: Lowest TV ratings ever

Prediction 6: Media focuses on Nets/Knicks merger that occurs the same time as the finals

Prediction 7: Nets/Knicks boast $400 million dollar team salary for 2014-15, still don’t win a championship…

 

 


The Plan (Formerly Titled “Depression: Another Bucks Season”)

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I feel like a loser watching the NBA finals.  Not because of the game, teams, or that I was spending time watching a game.  No, I felt like a loser because I root for the Milwaukee Bucks.

There are not many teams worse off than the Milwaukee Bucks right now.  They gave away future talent (Tobias Harris), missed out at the trade deadline (could have unloaded Monta Ellis – instead got NOTHING), and now may lose both Brandon Jennings and J.J. Reddick’s to free agency.  All to secure the 8th seed and get pummeled by the Miami Heat.  This was not a growth opportunity, this was ALL-IN for the Milwaukee Bucks…the 8th seed, swept by the Heat.  All up to speed here?  Good.

The response of owner Herb Kohl is puzzling.  His refusal to even explore “ripping it down” and rebuilding appears close-minded.  Truth is, the team has left their 80’s pride in the rear view mirror for some time now.  No team is jealous of the Milwaukee Bucks.  This off-season started with more questions than Tim Tebow media day.  No coach.  Free agent filled back court.  With Monta Ellis opting out, the waters are becoming less murky.

Clearly for a Herb Kohl “win now” team the worst case is to lose Jennings and Reddick; starting the season with Ersan Ilysova, Luc Richard, John Henson, LARRY SANDERS!, and a mid first round draft pick.  That team could lose 60 games.  There are not many options, but I’m hoping for one.  Here is my pipe dream:

1. Josh Smith signs a max deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.  Is he worth max money?  Probably not, but maybe.  Also, you have to pay the Milwaukee tax.  This isn’t Miami, the weather sucks and the hookers are not “fine.”  Larry Drew’s style is said to be “buddies” with his players.  Well then, do your job and convince your buddy to come play for you.

2. Match Brandon Jennings, or offer one-year tender.  I don’t believe Jennings is going to get a max offer, something around 9 million a year is more likely.  Match it.  Do I get sick of watching BJ’s hot/cold steaks?  YES, but the hot will be even hotter if he has Josh Smith.  Those two would make the Bucks entertaining (maybe in an explosive way, but entertaining nonetheless).  No one can deny this.

3. If #1 and #2 happen then I keep Ersan and Luc.  They can make for a very strong supporting cast when not asked to do too much (as they have).  If my pipe dream does not come true, both are a luxuries the Bucks can’t afford at this time.

4. Draft a shooting guard at 15 and let him come off the bench.

5. Try to sign one of the available shooting guards: Ben Gordon, Kevin Martin, Brandon Rush, or Ray Allen (If Miami turns bad he may want to finish where he started?)

So there you have it.  We Bucks fans bitch constantly about are team, but are also very optimistic headed into each system.  Maybe we need Rick Pitino to scream “Sidney Moncrief isn’t coming though that door.  Marques Johnson isn’t coming through that door.  Terry Cummings isn’t…”  Clearly something needs to happen because we have issues.

 


FLASHBACK! NBA First Round Playoffs: Grading MY predictions

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(Sorry so late, but feel free to check the original predictions – I’m usually awful, hence the gloating!)

Spoiler Alert: Overall Grade is an A

It doesn’t happen often, actually this may be the first time.  Of course, I didn’t place any actual money on any of my first round predictions.  So this comes as no surprise to me.  Let’s take a look at my first round predictions and actual results (note you can check my earlier blogs if you suspect I’m a savage liar).  Note to any Las Vegas Casino that is looking for a freelance handicapper…I’m VERY available.

Miami Heat (1) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (8)

Prediction: Heat over Bucks, 4-0

Actual: Heat over Bucks, 4-0

Grade: A+

Comments: Okay, so this was an easy one…

New York Knicks (2) vs. Boston Celtics (7)

Prediction: Knicks over Celtics, 4-2

Actual: Knicks over Celtics, 4-2

Grade: A+

Comments: Still with me?  You do see that I picked the first two series EXACTLY correct, right?  I am fucking amazing.

Indiana Pacers (3) vs. Atlanta Hawks (6)

Prediction: Pacers over Hawks, 4-1

Actual: Pacers over Hawks, 4-2

Grade: A

Comments: No one is perfect, but I’m still pretty damn close…

New Jersey Nets (4) vs. Chicago Bulls (5)

Prediction (UPSET SPECIAL!): Bulls over Nets, 4-2

Actual: Bulls over Nets, 4-3

Grade: A

Comments: A classic series and a classic upset special delivered!

San Antonio Spurs (1) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (8)

Prediction: Spurs over Lakers, 4-1

Actual: Spurs over Lakers, 4-0

Grade: A-

Comments: Gave the Lakers too much credit, thought they would at least win one.

Oklahoma City Thunder* (2) vs. Houston Rockets (7)

Prediction: Thunder over Rockets, 4-1

Actual: Thunder over Rockets, 4-2

Grade: A

Comments: Given the ups-and-downs of this series (and injuries) this one was closer than I expected.

Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Golden State Warriors (6)

Prediction (UPSET SPECIAL!): Warriors over Nuggets, 4-2

Actual: Warriors over Nuggets, 4-2

Grade: A+

Comments: Nailed another upset special WITH the correct number of games – VEGAS BABY!

Memphis Grizzlies (4) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (5)

Prediction: Clippers over Grizzlies, 4-3

Actual: Grizzlies over Clippers, 4-2

Grade: C-

Comments: Leave it to Vinny Del Negro to fuck up a near perfect first round.

Where are my round 2 predictions?  It goes without saying I have retired my picks for 2013.  Enjoy the Playoffs!


NBA Ramblings: How the Heat are spending their week off?

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After their destruction of the Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat have at least a week before their next series starts.  Let’s look at a couple potential ways the team will be resting and preparing for their next opponent.

  • Watch the Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets series.  Openly joke about how Lebron may have to try next series.  (Everyone laughs!)
  • Dwayne Wade Rehab HOT TUB PARTY – every night!
  • The “Birdman’s 4/20” party; get high and join Chris Anderson as he parties and forgets the date, “Aw, man, I missed 4/20 again?”
  • Walk around South Beach and draw Chris Bosh figures along with the heading BIG 3 on Miami Heat promotional posters.  Note: Only applies to Chris Bosh.
  • Lebron James and Dwayne Wade go from school to school with the message of “Do well in school, say no to drugs, and most importantly stay away from Cleveland, seriously, stay the hell away from Cleveland.”

The NBA Ramblings: The Playoff Rankings

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With the NBA Playoffs first round underway it’s time to bring back the NBA Playoff Power Rankings.  As always, these rankings are to be taken to heart!

16. Milwaukee Bucks

Some quarters Brandon Jennings looks like a top 5 player in the league, other quarters he single handedly pulls his team down.

15. Boston Celtics

As Jim Morrison once sang, “This is the end…”

14. Chicago Bulls

This year’s Bulls vs. Nets series is very likely setting up a bitter rivalry for years to come.

13. Los Angeles Lakers

I don’t believe they can play any worse than game 1, so there’s that to hang their hat on…

12. Atlanta Hawks

So many lineups, I still believe they can make this a series.  Win?  No.

11. Golden State Warriors

Exciting youthful group.  Does anyone have more fun than Harrison Barnes?  No.

10. Memphis Grizzlies

Take a deep breath, you only need to win one on the road to win the series.  Games 3 and 4 in Memphis.  It’s the Grizzlies turn now!  You read it here at pulpscribbler.com!

9. Houston Rockets

Nice idea, but not happening…

8. Denver Nuggets

It doesn’t get more old-school than run-and-gun Nuggets vs. Warriors.  The NBA, its FANTASTIC!!!

7. Brooklyn Nets

Maybe the most UP-and-DOWN team in the Playoffs.  I’m still betting they will have 4 UPs and beat the Bulls.

6. New York Knicks

The Knicks are playing exciting playoff basketball.  Those seven words have not been typed in a VERY long time.

5. Indiana Pacers

The Heat are lucky they will not see Indiana until the Eastern Conference finals.  This team reminds me more and more of the Piston championship teams from a few years back.

4. San Antonio Spurs

Step 1 is to quietly disable the Lakers.  So far so good.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

Hey, it’s Chris Paul, MVP candidate…remember me?

2. Oklahoma City Thunder

Newest Sport’s Illustrated has an interesting article on Kevin Durant and his “#2” persona.  Anyway, the Thunder are #2 this week.

1. Miami Heat

Wow.  Dominating.