Monday, September 18, 2006

NBA 2010

So, our friends over at espn.com are featuring something they call NBA 2010 this week. In their own words, "All this week, ESPN.com will be looking ahead a few years in an attempt to see what the NBA will look like in the year 2010."

What a completely pointless waste of time! It's just an excuse to espouse an opinion about the basketball universe when in fact there's simply nothing to talk about! How sad and pathetic. Sounds like fun! Can I play too?

So, today's feature was "Which one of the Bottom 10 teams (Blazers, Knicks, Hawks, Wolves, Bobcats, Warriors, Raptors, Rockets, Celtics, Sonics) can win a championship in the next couple of years?"

First things first (and I know that I can be a little anal about these things, but it's my blog), who picked the number 10? Isn't this a tad arbitrary? Seattle is a member of the cellar dweller club at 35-47, but Orlando is not at 36-48? Seems like it should be limited to the truly horrible (there's a pretty clean break at the bottom 5, 27 wins for Toronto and 33 wins for Minny and Boston), or it should be the 14 non-playoff teams, which is at least a meaningfully arbitrary cut off. (Meaningfully arbitrary... I like that.)

OK, whatever. Orlando would be a decent pick if I was allowed to pick them, but rules are rules.

Of course, what I really want to do is diss the picks of the so-called experts.

John Denton picks the Houston Rockets, who really shouldn't even be on the list. Of course they would not be a bottom 10 team if TMac and Yao had not spent significant time in street clothes. So picking them is just too easy. Doesn't count.

Marc Spears picks the Knicks. Oh my god. Where to start? His reasoning is that 'either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade will be wearing a Knicks uniform after his contract ends.' Well, first of all, the name of the feature is NBA 2010, and even if this were to happen, they would have to win the title in that player's first year in MSG, and even then, it would be the 2011 title! Plus, the question says 'next couple of years.' A couple is two, not three and definitely not four! But ignoring all of those problems, it seems next to impossible to think that LeBron (or Wade) could become a Knick when his current deal is up. They won't be under the salary cap (it would be virtually impossible even if they started trying to get there now, and it would entail a level of sophistication and focus that neither Isiah Thomas nor James Dolan have heretofor exhibited), and they would only be able to offer bloated contracts in return for King James. Why would the Cavs work a sign-and-trade with an Eastern Conference team with no decent trade assets? It ain't happening.

Only Chris Sheridan offers a decent answer. (Picking Minnesota is a little like picking Houston - it's too easy. They were in the Western Conference finals two years ago. They have KG. Of course they have a chance. What fun is that?) Now, picking Charlotte, with a not implausible Vince Carter free agent signing next summer... that's an interesting pick. Sheridan also gets extra credit for specifically eschewing the Rockets pick as unworthy. Well played sir!