Wednesday, March 27, 2002

NBA: Clips lose and Utah wins, which puts the Clippers 3 and a half games back. Meanwhile the Nets without Kenyon Martin got blown out by the freaking Hawks. Great. Tonight is Sixers vs. Nets, a game that divides my loyalties. I'll probably end up pulling for the Sixers as the Nets are young and should have a bunch of chances in the future, whereas the Sixers are going to be in trouble whenever Dikembe retires, unless I'm just underappreciating Iverson's ability to carry a team on his back.

Hey, who's going to be MVP this year? I think it's between Iverson and Kidd, since they stand out as being the most important players to their teams. I mean, the Lakers are the best team in the league but who are you going to say is more responsible for that --Shaq or Kobe? As long as those two are on the same team there's always going to be too much speculation about who is making the Lakers great, and guys like Iverson are going to keep getting the MVP. Which is fine with me; I, like Bill Simmons, would rather see Kobe on a Sixers-like team than depending on Shaq half the time.

Via Slate comes this LA Times mock NBA draft which ranks pretty much every prospect in the world including high school juniors. Here's the top ten:

1. LeBron James, 6-7, 210, junior, Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary High--Supposed to combine best parts of Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson. No, really.

2. Jason Williams, 6-2, 195, junior, Duke--Some say he's not really a point guard and takes bad shots. OK, and their point is? Coach Mike Krzyzewski turns him loose because he carries his team. Williams does everything well, except shoot, which he does really well. Think: bigger, more explosive Phil Ford.

3. Yao Ming, 7-5, 283, Shanghai Sharks--Looks like he's coming. NBA guys containing their excitement because he'll need time to adjust and may always be a finesse player. On the other hand ...

4. Qyntel Woods, 6-8, 225, sophomore, Northeast Mississippi College. A scout, sent to Booneville, Miss., in January, found colleagues from half the league on site. Admirers say he's in the mold of (you're kidding, right?) Tracy McGrady.

5. Mike Dunleavy Jr., 6-91/2, 220, junior, Duke--Once a scrawny guard, now a full-size NBA small forward. Fine passer, good shooter, son-of-coach feel for the game. Some scouts even mention (sober up) Larry Bird. Says he'll stay.

6. Dajuan Wagner, 6-3, 200, freshman, Memphis--Hyped to alarming proportions, didn't turn out to be Allen Iverson or Steve Francis but did improve. Says he's staying, which is a good idea.

7. Amare Stoudamire, 6-9, 240, senior, Cypress Creek (Fla.) High--Some see OK skills, some see none, but, says a GM: "He'd be one of the toughest guys in our league right now."

8. Drew Gooden, 6-10, 230, junior, Kansas--Athletic, puts up numbers. Will have to show he can stand in against bigger pros so it's probably not a good idea to go around saying they look "fat and happy."

9. Jared Jeffries, 6-10, 215, sophomore, Indiana--Second-best prospect Bobby Knight ever landed, after Isiah Thomas.

10. Chris Marcus, 7-1, 285, senior, Western Kentucky--Sat out most of season because of foot injury and never caught up, but has only to show he's sound to move up. Not athletic but huge with a nice touch.

Read the whole thing. The writer, Marc Heisler, points out while this is good for the NBA it's bad for the NCAA, which is I guess why coaches are becoming more and more prominent as the true stars of the college circuit. Hey, I watch Temple because I know John Chaney is going to put an entertaining team out there every year, so I find nothing wrong with the coaches being the stars. But don't expect any more Bird-Magic or Ewing-Olajuwon finals.

No comments: