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[PBN] Southwest Breakdown

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by abc2007, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. abc2007

    abc2007 Member

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    http://probasketballnews.com/story/?storyid=688

    Southwest breakdown: Spurs, Mavs take aim at return to top
    By Tony Mejia
    Pro Basketball News

    Editor's note: This is the fourth of a series in which PBN offers a detailed division-by-division look at the offseason. Today: Tony Mejia breaks down the Southwest. Also see: Atlantic, Southeast and Central.


    SAN ANTONIO SPURS

    Makeover mandate: Go from old to bold.

    Smartest move: Picking up Richard Jefferson for three expiring contracts (Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, Fabricio Oberto) might wind up being the best move in this summer's arms race. In one move, San Antonio got younger and more athletic on the wing, adding a dramatic scoring boost that ensures the Spurs will still be able to compete even if Manu Ginobili comes up missing in the playoffs. He's the right addition at the right time.

    Biggest setback: Losing a fixture like Bowen is never easy, even if he was less of a factor last season. His defensive influence and work ethic will still be missed -- unless of course, they find a way to get him back by March. That looks doubtful now, but you can never say never.

    Feeling that draft: Despite moving their first-rounder, R.C. Buford and his crew still made a dent, inking No. 37 pick DeJuan Blair, an early favorite for top pick in Round 2. Miami shooter Jack McClinton and French international Nando DeColo aren't likely to be part of the team's immediate plans, but will remain in the pipeline.

    Summer fun: Ian Mahinmi outplayed No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet in the Spurs' Summer League finale, which was both a nice sign of his progress and an example of how far the Grizzlies new center has to go. Blair was a rebounding machine and earned a contract, while McClinton was plagued by poor shooting. Second-year guard George Hill didn't fare much better from the field but demonstrated greater poise at the point. Roster hopeful Malik Hairston displayed a stronger outside touch that definitely boosted his chances.

    Sleeper move: Theo Ratliff brings his shot-blocking and defense to the Alamo City, which should pay huge dividends. Having lost Oberto and Thomas, the Spurs needed some beef behind Tim Duncan, Matt Bonner and Antonio McDyess and wound up with a great fit.

    Biggest risk: Getting McDyess to ink for the mid-level looks pretty good now, but he does turn 35 on Sept. 7. A consummate professional whose drive and hunger should add fuel to the team's title runs, it's still a little wince-worthy to think the team will be paying him $6.8 million in 2011-12.

    Vacancies: The Spurs aren't expected to take on any more salary but do have a question mark at the point. Behind Tony Parker, neither Hill nor Roger Mason is currently capable of consistently running the show as smoothly as departed veteran Jacque Vaughn, who isn't expected back.

    Overall grade: A+. They're still aging but sharpened their teeth. Based on their summer shopping, San Antonio should manage to pull off old and bold.


    DALLAS MAVERICKS

    Makeover mandate: Win at all costs.

    Smartest move: Shawn Marion's acquisition will benefit the Mavericks in the short term. Mark Cuban opted to spend where others were slicing costs, trying to capitalize on Dirk Nowitzki's window of opportunity. Marion, who arrived via a sign-and-trade featuring four teams and eight players, will help. He improves the level of talent on the wing and gives Rick Carlisle another versatile weapon who knows how to handle himself in crunch time.

    Biggest setback: Signing Marcin Gortat to a 5-year, $34 million offer sheet tells you how bad Dallas wanted the Polish center anchoring the defense for 25-30 minutes. Orlando had other ideas, unexpectedly matching after securing Brandon Bass and sending the Mavs scrambling for Plan B. Apparently, that's adding Drew Gooden and asking him to play a lot more center than he has in his life. It's not the worst alternative but not what they set out to do.

    Feeling the draft: The Mavs emerged with Rodrigue Beaubois (pick No. 25 from OKC) and Ahmad Nivins (No. 56), each considered a steal by management. Donnie Nelson also added a second-rounder from Portland in 2010, making it a very satisfying evening.

    Summer fun: Beaubois had a rough start, then captivated imaginations with a 34-point explosion his second time out. Although a knee contusion suffered in Game 3 put a damper on things, his speed and dexterity were impressive. Nivins showed ability to get things done around the basket, giving him a shot to stick. Familiar names Luke Jackson, Shan Foster, Aaron Miles and Andre Brown helped fill out a roster that went 1-4.

    Sleeper move: Picking up veterans Gooden, Tim Thomas and Quinton Ross adds to the sense of urgency and professionalism the Mavs are seeking. If they respond to Cuban's kindness as maybe the top player's owner in sports, Dallas will have done well assembling affordable quality pieces to help Jet Terry fill out a strong set of reserves.

    Biggest risk: It's clear that the Mavs are paying to stay relevant, but giving Jason Kidd a three-year deal ($25 million) and guaranteeing Marion five (nearly $40 million) could leave the team in a major hole down the road. Cuban and Co. are clearly operating under the belief that the future isn't guaranteed. Whether they pay for that in the future remains to be seen. If they win now, it's worth every penny.

    Vacancies: James Singleton is expected back to help fill out a frontcourt with a lot of new faces. Other than that, the Mavs are set.

    Overall grade: B+. The Mavs are in position to threaten in the West if everything clicks.


    NEW ORLEANS HORNETS

    Makeover mandate: Rebuilding momentum

    Smartest move: Chris Paul was curious to see how management would respond to the Hornets' playoff collapse against Denver and was appeased by GM Jeff Bower's ability to shake things up, even if it did cost the team good pal Tyson Chandler. New Orleans looked like it was going to stand pat and wound up moving Chandler for little more than expiring deals, yet added Emeka Okafor as a cornerstone instead. Players appreciate moves like these that show you're in their corner and still trying to win, something Paul needed to see.

    Biggest setback: The Hornets did little to upgrade at off guard, which wasn't easy considering injury-prone Peja Stojakovic and inconsistent Morris Peterson are gobbling so much cap space. Jannero Pargo would've helped some since he's had success before alongside Paul, but the lure of playing in his hometown of Chicago was too great.

    Feeling the draft: Hard to argue with getting a quality piece like Darren Collison at No. 21, since he's expected to be a very competent caddy to Paul for the foreseeable future, defending and keeping up the energy. Acquiring second-rounder Marcus Thornton out of LSU was something they also badly wanted to accomplish. He'll make the team.

    Summer fun: Collison and Thornton held serve in Vegas, combining for over 39 points through four games before each sitting out the finale. Julian Wright started slowly but finished strong. The Hornets would love if he'd be further along but hope to see continued improvement.

    Sleeper move: Getting Bass to return and provide an upgrade up front would've been ideal, but Ike Diogu might fulfill the same role at a lesser salary. He finished strong in Sacramento and has long maintained that he's going to be a factor if he stays healthy and can build some momentum via consistent minutes.

    Biggest risk: It was avoided. Going into a season with the same cast that hung their heads together just a few months ago would've been bad news. Taking on Okafor's deal for the next five years has its risks, but he's played all 82 in consecutive seasons and has already turned one trick in boosting morale.

    Vacancies: They could use a more competent 2-guard and one more big man. Unfortunately, with only one spot remaining on the roster and little desire to spend, the Hornets aren't in position to upgrade much else.

    Overall grade: B. The Hornets aren't beaten before the season even starts. If Okafor can make the jump from good to great and stay healthy, they may even make some noise come May.


    HOUSTON ROCKETS

    Makeover mandate: Curb unnecessary spending.

    Smartest move: Getting a young player with great upside who is coming off a championship is a homer, especially in the Rockets' situation. If they could count on a healthy Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady next season, it might have been smart to keep Ron Artest. Since that's not the situation, banking on Trevor Ariza as a major part of the future equation is the way to go.

    Biggest setback: Yao's situation got scary. Anytime the term career-threatening slips in, you worry. His season-ending surgery was a necessity, so all that's left to do now is hope modern science wins out and he's able to recover and restart his career.

    Feeling the draft: Moving their first-round pick to Sacramento, Houston tried to make a dent in Round 2, acquiring UCF guard Jermaine Taylor from Washington, Spain's Sergio Llull from Denver and Arizona product Chase Budinger from Detroit. It fit Darryl Morey's wish list, adding talent without having to guarantee any contracts right off the bat.

    Summer fun: Joey Dorsey was a beast for the successful Houston summer league team, rebounding and defending everything and everyone in sight. The team had high hopes for James "Flight" White, who was up and down. Taylor and Budinger shot well enough to land contracts (Taylor signed Wednesday). Maarty Leunen and Brad Newley were shaky and will spend next season in Europe.

    Sleeper move: Picking up the rights to Aussie David Andersen is a move Morey hopes pays dividends. After dropping $2 million and a second-rounder to spring him from Atlanta, they threw $500,000 Barcelona's way to buy him out and get him over immediately. Here's hoping Yao's replacement for the short-term is more Luis Scola than Chris Anstey. He's won five consecutive championships, four in Russia and last year in Spain.

    Biggest risk: Although it's still possible that he'll be back, allowing Von Wafer to dangle has some risk attached to it. He did almost average double figures off Houston's bench last season and has apologized for the on-court disagreement with Rick Adelman that got him banished in the postseason, hoping that's not a deal-breaker.

    Vacancies: The Rockets need help on the wing and inside, and could probably use a taller point guard to serve as a variable. However, with this season already lost, the team is rightfully in conservative mode.

    Overall grade: C. It's hard to put a happy face on entering a season without Yao, T-Mac or Artest after having finally just won a playoff series. But when life gives you lemons, you tank and save cap space.


    MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

    Makeover mandate: Who knows? It's the Grizz. Make ends meet? Add to the young nucleus?

    Smartest move: Faciliating the four-team deal that delivered Hedo Turkoglu to Toronto and Shawn Marion to Dallas generated more cap space once they bought out Jerry Stackhouse with the $2 million the Mavs shipped over. They didn't have to do much, but that no-brainer appears to be the one sure positive from this team's offseason.

    Biggest setback: Memphis turned Darko Milicic into the expiring contract of Quentin Richardson and ultimately flipped him to the Clippers for Zach Randolph. In need of a power forward, it now has to hope he doesn't stunt the growth of the team's young players during his two-year stint, which was what made him more attractive than David Lee, who they would've had to tie up for much longer. Cheap and dumb.

    Feeling the draft: Hasheem Thabeet was the choice with the No. 2 pick, with the Grizzlies hoping his 7-3 size ultimately will make him one of this draft's impact players. Late first-rounder DeMarre Carroll is an energy guy expected to help replace Hakim Warrick, but don't be surprised if second-rounder Sam Young winds up being most ready to contribute immediately.

    Summer fun: Reclamation project Marcus Williams, a former first-round pick looking to stick, made a game-winning layup in the finale to keep the Grizzlies unbeaten, capping a memorable week in which he was the team's best player. Darrell Arthur, Hamed Haddadi and rookies Thabeet, Carroll and Young were also on the squad.

    Sleeper move: Williams was inked after his strong performance, giving Memphis the point guard talent it needed to keep a fire lit under Mike Conley. Both New Jersey and Golden State had high hopes for the former UConn point guard, so here's hoping the third time is the charm.

    Biggest risk: What's your preference? Letting Randolph around your impressionable kids or selecting a potential bust at No. 2. There are even more questions about Thabeet than there were about Stromile Swift. Scary. In the Grizzlies' defense, Ricky Rubio and Tyreke Evans had their question marks, too.

    Vacancies: At this point, the Grizzlies will look to have a painfully young bench that can use plenty of help, but the plan looks to be throwing them in deep waters to see who can swim. Allen Iverson isn't coming.

    Overall grade: D-. To think, the Grizzlies entered the summer with cap space and the No. 2 pick in the draft.
     
  2. Raven

    Raven Member

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    Exactly!
     
  3. TMac4Life#1

    TMac4Life#1 Member

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    How old is this article?? for the guy to say can the Rockets count on a healthy McGrady and Yao with Ariza then later on switch it up to say the biggest setback is not having Yao is just crazy.

    I really think it's to early to judge what this team has. Usually guys who are not expected to make noise really over achieve. I really hope thats what happens with the Rockets.
     
  4. Rocket86

    Rocket86 Member

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    The "Lets Tank " continues. Come on Rockets prove them wrong.
     
  5. abc2007

    abc2007 Member

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    August 7 2009

     
  6. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Member

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  7. Ditty

    Ditty Member

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    spurs are going to be sick this year,with this being ginobili's contract year expect him to have the best play of his carreer if healthy. RJ gives the spurs another scorer the need sometimes when the spurs can't make a basket for those long period of minutes.Duncan has been seen at the spurs practice facility alot this offseason,working out and trying to get back to his old self and make a run at the MVP this year. Parker is just getting better and better every year, he could be in some MVP talk but with parker entering his prime see him averagin more than 20 this season.McDyess who can give you 10 and 10 a night gives the spurs the best big man to play next to TD since David Robinson which should get alot of pressure off Duncan.Look out fr roger mason this year also with all the spurs creators on the floor cauing defenders to lag on the other guys, look for probably the best shooter in the league to get alot of open looks something he didn't get alot last year mostly all his shots were off pick and rolls. Something that can be scary with you think about it.

    Dejuan Blair was a rebounding and scoring beast in summer league,and is on his verge of making the teams that didn''t draft him pay,george hill looked great in summer league his jumper got better,and his defense and long arms will make him one the best point guard defenders in the league to come. Ian Mihinmi the spurs 2005 first round draft pick was also a beast in summer league, he run the floor like a guard, he is a real good post defender,he got alot stronger sitting out last year with a leg injury, he isn't raw anymore on the offensive end just needs to learn to finish better around the basket, which he will learn from tim duncan throughout his career. Malik Hairston will be the spurs new bruce bowen,he is a young lock down defender who is quick on his feet,real athletic,and this guy can jump. He finally showed some signs of having 3 point and outside range.If he shows this in preseason watch him to crack the spurs rotatation. Theo Ratliff will still give the spurs a big man that can block shots something the spurs didn't do well with matt bonner in the lineup.

    Look for the spurs maybe to make one more move to get a perimeter defender,possibly packinging matt bonner and michael finley for raja bell, or even inquring about shane battier :eek: , but i really doubt the rockets would do that unless they want to get rid of all there salaries and start from scratch again
     
  8. spaceage808

    spaceage808 Member

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    he's pretty much spot on with regards to the Rox. we really need to curb our enthusiasm. i have no expectations this year. yet i eagerly look forward to watching our young guys play their tails off.

    its going to be a fun season to watch, thats for sure.
     
  9. FLASH21

    FLASH21 Heart O' Champs

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    There goes that tank word again. :mad:
     
  10. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Member

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    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=nf4mn6

    Yao/McGee/Andersen
    Landry/Hayes/Dorsey
    Lebron/Ariza/Budinger
    Young/Wafer/Taylor
    Brooks/Crittenton/James

    Lebron, Young = help on the wing
    McGee = help on the inside
    Crittenton = taller point guard
    This trade = dynasty
     
  11. nef2005

    nef2005 Member

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  12. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Member

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    I should have put "(in 2010)" next to Lebron's name...
     
  13. bingsha10

    bingsha10 Member

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    The Rockets are going to be a lot better than most people think. The biggest problem they have when Yao is out is nobody else was over 7ft tall to get those rebounds where all you need is to out tall someone. Anderson if nothing else fixes that.
     
  14. That Boi Oz

    That Boi Oz Member

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    Good read but dont agree the team is going to tank. I hope to see one more move before the season starts to see what the roster looks like.
     
  15. johnkamla

    johnkamla Contributing Member

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    Valid assessment assuming Tmac is out for most of the season. But way off if he makes it back early. And don't underestimate Adelman's ability to remold the team around Scola/Brooks/Ariza.

    My glass is still half full.
     
  16. napalm06

    napalm06 Huge Flopping Fan

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    You misread it. It says "IF the Rockets COULD count on Yao and McGrady.."
     
  17. roxfan4life00

    roxfan4life00 Member

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    Spurs are getting all the hype based on the players they have on paper. Last time I checked, Manu had a messed up foot and Tony was injured during the offseason. They better hope the injury bug does not show up in the regular season like it did for them last season or they maybe a first round exit team again.
     
  18. txppratt

    txppratt Contributing Member

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    i enjoyed reading it and i think it is a fairly accurate portrayal of the rockets current state.

    maybe this will be the year joey dorsey shows some true value to this team? his performance in summer league was great. maybe that will give him the confidence he needs to be more dedicated this year?

    he and anderson look to be our C tandem... with a little scola in the mix.

    wow... :eek:

    this could be one of the strangest years to be a rockets fan. a lot of good things can come out of this season if things go well - even if our record does stink.
     

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