Monday, June 6, 2011

Eulogy: 2011 Celtics

Dear friends, family and opponents,

we are gathered here to mourn the dead end of a few NBA careers.

Shaquille O'Neal called it quits as the oldest player in the NBA and (not) playing like it with a serious ache that would not go away.

Jermaine O'Neal and Kevin Garnett are shells of their former All-Star selves, like cars with 140k on them that one day perform like a new Rolls Royce and the next day have to be taken into the shop because the check engine light is on. These guys are either going to get traded by the deadline or hurt the Celtics for years because of the opportunity cost that their contracts could get from a true contender.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are in that special part of their careers where they are good enough for management to stick with for awhile, and bad enough that this loyalty will prolong any rebuilding and championship mode. We are more likely to see Paul Pierce wheeled around a nursing home in a wheelchair than ever see him have a dramatic comeback in a finals game.

And, though the Celtics have only Pierce and Rondo signed for 2012, and have an eminently friendly contract for Rondo, we may see them mess this up by signing Dwight Howard and therefore getting two players who cannot handle the ball in the last 2 minutes of a close game because of poor free throw shooting.

Anyways, great idea to trade Perk! Bye-bye title hopes for next season and hello over-paying Jeff Green to be a future because if they don't the trade will look like a total waste.

Eulogy: 2011 Grizzlies

Dear friends, family and opponents

we are gathered here to witness that having great 1 through 9 depth and an athletic team will only get you so far if you do not have a true superstar.

The Grizzlies have an Atlanta Hawks-style roster right now, one which looks promising, athletic, young and with a couple quasi-superstars (Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay) that will get you to the playoffs year-in and year-out, but will never get you to the Conference Finals.

This is the type of team that slowly drains the life out of a mid-market city's fans. Yes, they will get to see some good basketball for years, Yes, they will see a couple great players develop into second-tier All-Stars, And yes, they will see an exciting upset or two.

But every year they get their hopes up for the playoffs, every year that it seems they can make one or two upsets to make it to the Finals and every year that they realize they are a great player short of accomplishing anything special, will suck the life out of these fans.

Welcome to the over-achieving mid-market world!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Eulogy: 2011 Nuggets

Dear friends, family and opponents,

when you trade two superstars away and your defense automatically gets 10 points better, usually that is a point to celebrate. If you cannot get past the first round because you have no one who can score on offense, it stops becoming a point to celebrate.

Yes, Denver made out better in the Melo trade than any could have expected. No, it won't matter to their future success.

Every year, one team is a winner and the rest are losers. The only successful team in the NBA each year is the championship team.

And with the guns Denver has now (and an increasingly disappointing Danilo Gallinari), they are going to have to make some great trades and signings to be anywhere near competing. Yes, they are going to be way under the cap the next two season, but one of those seasons may have a lockout and the cap is likely to decrease, meaning just about all the superstars are already signed to long-term deals.

And when your teams two big moves the last few years was to trade for Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups way past their primes, you cannot have much faith that they are going to do the right thing with all the room they have to maneuver.

Eulogy: 2011 Hornets

Dear friends, family and opponents,

we are here to celebrate the Hornets before the NBA decides it has no choice and ships out Chris Paul and relocates the team to another city.

Hornets' fans most likely will be able to celebrate Chris Paul forming a trio of superstars in New York to compete with the Heat. Yes, that first half season after the trade deadline will give the Knicks some kinks, but don't worry, you will get to see your former superstar go deep in the playoffs with another team!

Meanwhile, you'll get to see David West as he increasingly stops passing out of double and triple teams, and Emeka Okafor stop giving a defensive effort because the team sucks.

Then you will get to see your team getting a couple lottery picks before moving to another city, then killing it because they have some blue chips a la the Seattle, errr, I mean Oklahoma City Thunder.

Welcome to the beginning of the end for the New Orleans Hornets!