Potential

When do we stop looking at potential and realize that a player pretty much is what he is? NBA GMs fall in love with players because of the potential they see in them. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about the Draft, I’m talking about general managers going after guys in trades or outrageous free agent contracts. In general, it’s usually the same teams that end up making these mistakes. Think back to the Knicks (Jerome James contract), the Mavericks (Lafrentz signing & Dampier signing), the 76ers (Dalembert and Ollie contracts), the Magic (Rashard Lewis contract), the Blazers (Darius Miles contract) and the Nuggets (Kenyon Martin & Nene contracts). Coincidentally, all the teams mentioned above either changed general managers or embraced a new philosophy. In general, it’s tough to accurately evaluate certain players and their future contributions; however after a few years in the league you generally have an idea of who that player is and what he brings to the table. If a dude has been performing like Lil’Romeo, don’t go out and give him an Usher contract. Case in point, in no country, league or economic system does it make sense that Rashard Lewis is paid more money then the likes of Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Vince Carter, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Crazy right? Well that’s the NBA for you. Then people wonder how come only a selected few GMs are able to keep their jobs. It’s simple mathematics, if you keep signing scrubs to max contracts, you will eventually be fired. So with that, I will now present you with the next group of guys that will get incompetent GMs fired....


Eddy Curry: becomes a free agent in 2011
People have been saying for years that big men develop late and therefore those same people just throw money at big men thinking these guys will be franchise players at some point in time. Don’t believe me? Look at the contracts of Sam Dalembert and Tyson Chandler. These guys are making north of $10 Weezies (millie) per year. So you have to figure that Eddy Curry is going to try to cash in on that right? Think back to the 2004-205 season, Jerome James was in a contract year playing for the Seattle Sonics and had a pretty good season. Remember in the NBA, whenever centers produce, GM's start drooling over them kind of like Lindsay Lohan whenever someones says the word Coke (not talking about the soft drink).So once the season ended, Isiah Thomas through some money at Jerome James. The end result? Ever since signing with the Knicks, James has been paid $15 million dollars while producing 6.9 mpg, 2.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.2 apg. The irony is that he plays on the same team as Eddy Curry. So buyers beware; Eddy Curry might magically get in shape in 2010 and start putting up a few 20 and 10 games, but don't be fooled. It's just fool's gold. Good luck to the next guy that gives him loot.Random thought: Shouldn't Curry have played the part of Biggie in the Notorious movie? After the scandal with his limo driver, couldn't you just picture him walking into the office of then GM Isiah Thomas and saying: "Just gimme the ball 30 times cuz I'm about to shoot, a true motherf*cker going out for cheeseburgers and the loot!"

Tyrus Thomas: becomes a free agent in 2011
I can already see GMs hyping this kid up as the next Amare Stoudemire. The freakish athleticism and uncanny ability to come up with ridiculous dunks in games is just unmatched. The problem with Thomas? He has no clue what it is he is doing on the court. He can have a 15 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks game and then the next night give you 5 points, 4 rebounds and a spot on the bench in crunch time. Thomas' reliance on his athletic ability makes him a player in the mold of Stromile Swift. Remember him? The same dude that's been bounced around in trades because he isn't all that much worth keeping (he's like herpes ), look at the list of teams he's been on: Vancouver, Memphis (Vancouver became Memphis), Houston, back to Memphis, New Jersey and now Phoenix. Tyrus Thomas is the next Stromile peoples; make sure you pay attention. The beauty of it all though is that someone is going to throw him a suitcase with more money then what Michael Jackson paid for lawyer fees throughout his career. Just one of the guys that will get a GM canned.

Darko Milicic: becomes a free agent in 2010
Put it this way, if someone (paging Joe Dumars) believed he was a better draft pick then Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, TJ Foord, David West, Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa annd Josh Howard, isn't it a little bit feasible to believe that maybe someone is going to take another chance at him? He's 7 feet tall, can block shots and is only 24 years old. So you better believe that someone is going to think that they just stole a gem and that he will develop into a a very good center. But we all know the deal though right? He will end up being another overpaid player in the league that got some cash because he looked like a dude that could possibly put up numbers. Let's just hope that the general manager that takes a chance on him has some semblance of job security. Remember the song by Beanie Sigel "I don't do much"? Well that's pretty much what Darko should be singing in the Grizzlies locker room after every game. He is like a worse version of Joel Pryzbilla. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Andrea Bargnani: becomes a free agent in 2011
Several experts once believed that he was the next Dirk Nowitzki. His size and shooting touch had GMs salivating over what he could do on the basketball court. Remember when Buffie the body came on the scene? Men from everywhere started freaking out about her because of the size of her donk. Well that's essentially how scouts reacted to Bargnani. And do remember, Andrea is 24 years old currently and will still be a young 26 year old player by the time he becomes a free agent. So although he is not a great NBA player now, he might turn out to be a decent player in the league; perhaps the seventh or eighth best player on a championship team (think Leon Powe , Glen Davis, Jason Maxiell, Robert Horry or even P.J. Brown). However, the problem with Bargnani is that he looks like he is full of potential but his production might never match his potential. So invariably, some guy will pay him Rashard Lewis money. For those that are unaware, Rashard Lewis money is when you throw franchise player money to a guy that essentially will only be a role player. That comparison is more on point then you might think. Lewis is a 6'10 small forward afraid of going to the basket in the clutch and that prefers to rely on his jump shot despite the fact he always has a mismatch. Bargnani is a little taller but plays out of position at center where they hope that he can create match up problems with the opposing big man. The end result is that some games he lights it up and other times he stinks up the joint worse then a Rick Ross street cred album. As a role player, Ill Mago (The Magician, brush up on your Italian my fellow readers) is a decent NBA player (you know, when he's making $5 mill per year); but as a highly paid 7 foot tall inconsistent shooter, he will get your ass fired.

Travis Outlaw: becomes a free agent in 2010
Although he is not a household name like the players mentioned previously; make no mistake about it, this dude can play. Outlaw is the guy that the Blazers call on to guard the likes of LeBron James down the stretch of games. The combination of long arms, amazing athleticism and work ethic make him a crowd favorite and a player that other teams covet. He is cut from the same mold as Gerald Wallace. He does not do anything great, but is fairly good in several facets of the game. His ability ti defend multiple positions as well as his jump shot making ability make him a guy that you absolutely want to have on your squad. Make sure you take notice, he is a stud. Problem is, he will get paid by some team that hopes he can be their third or second best player. As history shows, only a handful of roles players have been able to cash in on superstar money and become superstars; more often then not, these guys end up on the trade market by the second or third year of their contract. Let's just hope GMs exercise some form of restraint and good judgement, or else we will be stuck watching overpaid players that rightfully think they've made it and stop caring.

MVP



Who is the NBA's MVP? This is the big debate that must be addressed right now. The race right now boils down (in no specific order) to Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. No one else really deserves to e in the conversation in my mind, although Chris Paul and Dwight Howard could have an argument here. So as of right now, who is in the lead for the trophy?

Kobe Bryant
The Black mamba's stats last year en route to the MVP trophy were : 28.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.4 spg & 45.9 fg% in 38.9 min per game. This year, Kobe's putting up 28.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.3 spg & 47.4 fg% in 36.3 minutes per game. One could argue that Kobe's been better this year considering he is getting almost the same numbers while playing less. In addition, #24 is has shot the ball this year better then he has ever shot it at any other point in his career. But why is it that Kobe often gets mentioned as third or second? This one's easy; once you've won the award, voters expect you to do more in order to be a repeat winner. I call it the Chappelle Effect; people just keep expecting you to do bigger and better. Like Katt Williams says, if you've been selling weed for the past 7 years and ain't moved up to cocaine, I don't know what to tell you, you need to get it pushing. Voters do not want what they had the year before, they now want more; I am not saying that it's right, but that's how it goes. Don't believe me? Look at Manu Ginobili. When he comes off the bench for the Spurs, there is no better sixth man in the NBA. And yet, how many times has he won the the 6th man of the year award? Look it up. That being said, Kobe Bryant is still by leaps and bounds the best offensive player on the planet. But right now, I put him as third on MVP ballot because of all the helps he gets. In essence, he is not as valuable to his team as the next two guys on the list.


Dwyane Wade
Professional sports in general boil down to the Murphy-Jackson Corollary (named after Edy Murphy and Janet Jackson) which essentially asks "What have you done for me lately?" Ouhhhhhhhhhh yeah! All jokes aside, the NBA, NHL and NFL generally rely on a simple notion: whatever it is that you have done lately, it is the best we have ever seen. Think about it. Still not convinced? How ridiculous was it that some people thought that Kobe Bryant's 81 points were somehow a greater feat then Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points in a game? Fans and the media in general tend to overvalue recent accomplishments in pro sports to the detriment of those that
did it before. That being said, I like to look at the body of work of a player during a season and then see how he performs while his team is in the playoff push; because that's when he is most needed.The beauty of that if you will is that the playoff push is when voters start making up their minds on who will get the top vote in their minds. With that, let's take a look at Dwyane Wade's body of work this season: 29.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.6 apg, 2.24 spg, 1.40 bpg, 48.2 fg%. Amazing numbers no matter how you look at them. But I want more details on his recent production, let's look at his stats for March : 35.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 9.1 apg, 3.00 spg, 1.11 bpg, 52.5 fg%. In other words, Dwyane Wade has been bananas this month, wreaking havoc on whatever team has gotten in his way. Wade has been so impressive in the past few weeks that I can't really put it into words. But then again, those that know me know I can always try. Here goes: when I was younger, I used to be a huge NBA Live fan ( I have since switched over to NBA 2K in the past few years) and would play whenever I got the chance. Ask Qwest and Ricky, they were
the same. But back then, I had this thing where I loved to inflate my stats with my team. At the time, I played with the Toronto Raptors and loved to break down the computer with Vince Carter. I played at one of the easiest levels in the game and basically had some seasons in which Carter averaged 30 ppg, 7 rpg and 7 apg. The point I'm trying to make is that I needed
every minute of those games in order to achieve those stats and yet Wade has been surpassing those NBA Live numbers during the month of March ( quick tangent: I'd be willing to bet that he and Kobe lead the league in Youtubed videos). One thing I will point out though, numbers aren't everything. Kobe Bryant has proven that you can get the most outrageous numbers during an 82 game season but not get the MVP award because of your team's record. The
Miami Heat's record during the month of March is a mere 5-5 with their overall record standing at 36-32 which is good for fifth in the Eastern Conference. So although I would be ready to anoint Flash as the league MVP right now, his team's record just doesn't put him there. The guy that should get the top spot if the season ended today is...........

LeBron James
Let's get the King's regular season numbers out of the way right now: 28.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.78 spg, 1.28 bpg, 48.8 fg%. Now if we follow the Murphy-Jackson (What have you done for me lately Eddy? I want half!), we will want to have a quick peak at his numbers for the month of March just like we did for Wade. Bron's numbers: 30.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 8.8 apg, 1.91 spg, 1.64
bpg, 48.0 fg%. But more importantly, the team's record during March is a modest 11-1 and their regular season record is a league best 56-13. I could come up with several reasons and facts detailing why the King is this year's league MVP; but I will simplify the calculation for you: relatively average supporting cast + best record in NBA + arguably best player in the league +
putting up gaudy numbers = MVP. A few years from now, people will look back and won't even argue the merits of LBJ's MVP campaign. They will remember that Dwyane Wade was phenomenal all year long and that he did whatever it took for his team to win and put up ridiculous numbers in the process. On the flip side, they will remember that James did exactly what Wade did but in the end led his team to more wins. The SBG blog would like to present King James with the Maurice Podoloff trophy a couple of months early. Just make sure you remember where you heard it and read it first.

Mailbag

Hello fellow readers, a few weeks back I had mentioned that me and some random SBG member would be answering some of your questions regardless of the topic. Me and Cid sat down and answered a few questions that some of you guys out there had. As usual, feel free to drop us an email at sbg_tv@hotmail.com. So herewe go....

When a man asks a woman for her number and her response is "I don't give mine out but I'll take yours"~ What does the man think?
Cid's answer: Two options:
1. She just playing hard to get but she will definitely call you because you just cut your hair and your name is Qwest
2. She didn’t know how to answer so she said I don’t give mine out but il take yours and then she deleted the number as soon as you were gone lmao

Shyne's answer: I might as well go home and play NBA 2K9 cuz I won't be geting no phone call.
How do you guys feel about Internet dating sites?Cid's answer: One of my friends met his girl on the internet and now has 3 kids and a house with her. But then again, I know a dude that is meeting girls on the net on the regular and he gest laid everyday; so do the math.
Shyne's answer: They work for some but fail for others.Dating sites in general have somewhat replaced the clubbing experence. No more standing in line with a roughneck bouncer telling you to tuck your shirt in or dodging bullets to get a shorty's digits. Now you just log in from the comfort of your own home, drop some lines to a dime piece (or a hoodrat, I know some dudes aim low) and you got yourself a date. You even saved yourself $10.00 on the fruity drink she would've asked at the bar.

When you F**K up, how do u fix things with your girl?
Cid's answer: You pull a kobe move and buy a ring but I think im 3 960 000$ short.

Shyne's answer: I tell her it could've been worse; she could've found out about my other screw ups.

When men boast about their oral sex skills, do you think its because they can't adequately satisfy a woman?
Cid answer:Ask Shyne lol!!!

Shyne's answer: Ask Qwest lol . But on the real, the problem isn't the men themselves, it's the women. Yeah I said it. As long as women continue to fake orgasms, men will continue to think that they know how to satisfy a woman. And once a cocky dude thinks he's figured it out, he will let the world know about it. How many of you know a DJ that constantly talks about his sexual exploits but yet you never hear women talk about his performances? And you know women will gossip to the whole damn city about your ass if you broke her off right

When a lady gives it up the first day, do u always assume she's a slut or would you wife her?
Cid's answer:I actually love that question ! When a guy meets a girl, the first thing on his mind is to do her. When you do her, if it was good you keep her on lay away. Youtry to know her better. Try to see what are her goals in life. Try to see if she could be a good person to be with while you're still meeting girls on the side lol. For the white folks they need to try the person first because if the person aint good in bed they aint wasting no time true story.

Shyne's answer: Actually, I might assume my game is tight lol. But real to real, it depends on the context. I might have spoken to you through different mediums for like 6 months and felt like we know each other and then the first day we physically meet we get down. I won't see you as a slut. Hell, it's 2009, women want to get their own just as bad as men. If anything, if I meet up with a woman that gives it up on the first day, I will think that I got suckered because I need to feel as though I know you to a certain extent before getting down to business. So no she not a slut, but Kanye might tell you she a "Playa Playa"

Scattered Thoughts

What it do my fellow readers, I just figured I would give you guys my scattered thoughts for this week. I had a few things that came to my mind that I thought should be shared with the masses. So here we go:

*The Buffalo Bills organization as well as their fan base will remember the day they signed Terrel Owens. Think about what will happen when Trent Edwards either underthrows or overthrows T.O. on a passing route; Owens will throw him under the bus (as he's always done). This could play out like the Rick Ross & 50 Cent feud.....speaking of which

*Rick Ross is perhaps one of the dumbest people ever. 50 Cent's career as a rapper slash entertainer was going down the drain until Officer Ricky came through and decided to verbally attack Fiddy. The end result? This might end up being the worst L in the history of not just rap battles but feuds overal. 50 vs Ricky easily trumps Shaq & Kobe, Biggie & Pac, Jay-Z & Nas, Ron Artest & Pistons fans; you get the idea. I thought Fif had gone a little overboard when he brought Ross' baby mama into the fold; but now the G-Unit leader has taken to a whole new level. 50 released a porno video of Ricky's baby mama having sex with some other dude. In the words of the Latin gang members from Hillside Trese (hispanic gang members in Training Day), that dude 50 Cent is a ruthless vato...

*People that know me know that I am a huge Joe Budden fan. Well I copped the Padded Room and love the concepts in the album. Joey does his thing with that introspective approach that he likes to take, where you feel as though he's talking to you and that you can relate to his story from start to finish. As listeners, we're lead to believe that all the facts that Joe throws at us involving his life are very real and bare the weight of gorilla on the New Jersey rapper. Keep in mind though, as I said I'm already a fan of Joe Budden so I might be a little biased.

*Where the $@%! is that Detox album?

*Every now and then, I wonder, what do you guys want to know or what would like me to tackle as a subject? I brainstorm every now and then and come up with some ideas but I'm never sure if it's really something worth writting about. I mentionned it before, but I will mention it again, I take requests people. Although I put my opinions and thoughts on the site, I make sure to always do the proper research in order to give an informed opinion on the topics that I touch on. So yes, please do send in your requests at sbg_tv@hotmail.com or just post them in the comments section.

Ballers Network

http://ballersnetwork.com/p/en/ballers/silverback-gorillas-montreals-team-to-beat/

T.O'd

The Dallas Cowboys finally had the cojones to release Terrel Owens. Although Jerry Jones loves the flash and glamour associated with acquiring and keeping star players, he came to senses and cut T.O. loose. I believe this was the right move when you consider Owens’ track record. His messy departure from San Francisco in which he criticized Jeff Garcia’s game and his heterosexuality. Then there was his brief stint in Philadelphia where he alienated some of the Eagles players and their fans. He then verbally attacked McNabb for his performance in the Super Bowl and also added that Donovan was jealous of his success in Philly. If that wasn’t enough, whenever pressed on past issues, T.O. will go 50 Cent on people and just start naming names and dissing whoever he is asked about. Whether it’s McNabb, Garcia, Parcells, Romo, Witten or Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Owens never had a problem calling people out. In essence, Jerry Jones looked at that and realized that it was only a matter of time before T.O. truly became disruptive in the Cowboys locker room. So he did what had to be done and sent his ass packing. The next question now is where will Owens end up? Let’s go through league:

NY Giants
Tom Coughlin would have his ass for lunch and cut him by Week 3 after a few complaints and dropped balls.

Philadelphia
Been there, done that, screw him.

Dallas
Jerry Jones pulled a Joker on this one: “Let me show you a magic trick Terrel…here you go, I just ripped your contract to pieces. TA-DAH! Let’s put a smile on that face”

Washington
Could be a good destination. The Skins have the money and might want to put him opposite of Santana Moss. But do you put a young QB with Owens?

Minnesota
This one seems to make a little sense except that Owens won’t want Tarvaris Jackson throwing him the ball.

Chicago
Kyle Orton or Rex Grossman? I bet T.O. says neither.

Green Bay
They already have a solid receiving corps, but perhaps the addition of T.O. puts them in a different class in the NFC North.

Detroit
This would be the in case no one wants to sign me destination.

Carolina
Imagine a scenario where T.O. calls out either Delhomme or Steve Smith after a game and then the following Monday at practice Smith smacks Owens as if he were his prison bitch.

Atlanta
With the way that whole Vick thing went down, they don’t need another diva to come corrupt the franchise.

Tampa Bay
The Bucs could in fact use a receiver like T.O.

New Orleans
They are a pass happy team, so perhaps Owens makes some sense here, but I don’t know if Sean Payton would be willing to risk it.

Arizona
With Anquan Boldin possibly on his way out, T.O. might be the guy to replace him. Thing is, how would Owens feel about being the #2 receiver behind Fitzgerald?

Miami
Parcells’ had him before. The sign reads no vacancy if your name is T.O.

New England
These guys know how to get through to players. But then again, they usually go after high character guys, and with Moss already being on the team, they probably tell Owens:” Hey we like you in a flirt with you kind of way, but in no way are you one month or one night stand material; I think we’ll just pass”.

NY Jets
Possible destination.

Buffalo
I don’t know if he would actually fit in Buffalo.

Pittsburgh
Coach Tomlin strikes me as a high character guy like Tony Dungy, I think he considers it but then says pass.

Baltimore
Here’s a team that could really use a big physical receiver. One problem: A few years back, Owens got traded to Baltimore and refused to report because he did not feel they were a good fit back then. Perhaps time heals all wounds.

Cincinnati
Housh just left, maybe he’s the replacement? Once again though, can he accept being #2?

Cleveland
They already have a big name receiver that drops passes (Braylon Edwards).

Tennessee
Jeff Fisher is a tough head coach. He might take him in and get him to play at a high level all the while remaining silent. Then again, he might also just have him assassinated during training camp after an argument.

Indianapolis
Marvin Harrison was recently released. So they might have a need for a receiver, but is Owens really the dude they want or need? You think Owens will allow Manning to call him out in the huddle and tell him he ran the wrong rout? This would have all the makings of a Kobe and Shaq relationship.

Houston
They already have Andre Johnson. Once again, can T.O. be #2?

Jacksonville
These guys are desperate for someone that can get open regularly. Is T.O. that dude?

San Diego
I’m undecided about the Chargers. Their go to guy is Antonio Gates, but he is often hurt. So do they look to add?

Denver
McDaniels is from the Belichick coaching tree but I’m not sure of how his mind works yet. So I can’t say for sure how much interest there would be here.

Oakland
Ding Ding Ding. Al Davis could not care less about character. He only wants big names and talent. I could easily see the Raiders going after Vick AND Owens.

Kansas City
A team that seems to be on the rise. But I don’t think Pioli even considers T.O. because of his past.

NBA Today

Good day my fellow readers, I know it’s been a while but quit complaining, I brought some new exclusive ish for all of you. Just before I tackle the NBA Playoffs picture, I wanted to take a timeout to give the good people a public service announcement. Most of you have jobs that you take at least somewhat seriously where you attempt to accomplish the basic requirements in order to get paid. Every now and then, that notion gets lost on certain people. They start showing up late for work, calling in sick, doing a half assed job and even complaining about the work of others. Then they magically stop coming in to work with a bogus sickness and swear to you that medical records will be forwarded stating that they are indeed ill. A week or two goes by and you hear nothing. In your mind, the absence is unsupported and that person is on the brink of having their employment terminated. The troubled employee finds out that you’re considering getting rid of him and then magically he announces to you that he must go have surgery for a very serious condition that might prevent him from possibly even walking straight in the future. And yet there was nothing beforehand suggesting the individual had such a condition. As an employer, you are forced to keep him because you cannot terminate someone’s employment due to a medical condition. Scumbag move isn’t it? We all agree? Quick show of hands, anyone disagree that this person is a sleazebag? No? Didn’t think so. And yet, some people still defend Tracy McGrady…..

With harsh economic times hitting us, several people need to be distracted right now. Check that, they need to be entertained. As it stands right now, nothing will entertain me more currently then the last month and half left in the NBA regular season. Well actually, the 50 Cent cartoons making fun of Rick Ross (click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFw7HLbAqdM) are pretty entertaining and so are the takes on Chris Brown and Rihanna (look below).


But seriously people, pay attention to the NBA right now. Check out the standings

Eastern Conference
1. Cleveland 47-12
2. Boston 47-14
3. Orlando 44-16
4. Atlanta 34-26
5. Miami 31-28
6. Detroit 30-29
7. Philadelphia 29-30
8. Milwaukee
9. New Jersey 27-33
10. Chicago 27-34

Western Conference
1. LA Lakers 49-12
2. San Antonio 40-19
3. Houston 39-22
4. Denver 39-22
5. New Orleans 37-22
6. Portland 37-22
7. Utah 37-23
8. Dallas 36-24
9. Phoenix 34-26
10. Golden State 21-39

The battle for the top seed in the East might come down to the wire and you have to believe that the team with the number one seed in the playoffs will probably have a great shot at making the Finals. I know that the Celtics won the NBA Title last year, but they only went 3-9 on the road during the playoffs. However, let’s call it like it is though, their three road wins came against the Pistons and Lakers when the stakes were the highest. Right now, Cleveland’s added Joe Smith to the team to help offset the loss of Ben Wallace while Boston’s added Mikki Moore and Stephon Marbury. If if everything falls into place, this should be a great Conference Final.


In other related news, Allen Iverson is in D.C. seeing a specialist regarding his back. Coincidentally, the Pistons have gotten back to their winning ways (wins @ Orlando, @ Boston and vs Denver) thanks in large part to their cohesion on offense and defense. The best part of their mini-resurrection? Head coach Michael Curry saying that once Iverson is healthy again that he could play Will Bynum’s minutes. Yes the same bench warming Bynum that’s averaging 9.0 minutes per game this season and who saw his playing time increase to 11.0 minutes per game in the absence of Iverson. There is no way AI stands for this. I can see the locker room tirade right now: “I don’t know any former MVP that come off the bench, I don’t know no former All-NBA first team that come off the bench, I don’t know no former Olympian that come off the bench, I don’t know no future Hall of Famer that come off the bench, I don’t know no NBA All-Star that come off the bench…”. This is where Curry steps in: “Negro please, the only thing you done did recently was get named to the All-Star team and I still don’t get how that happened, you keep this ish up and you gonna ride the pine until July. We don’t need you right now, our team is winning, but you need us, you a free agent after this year and we not planning on signin’ yo ass.” By the way, don’t look now, but if the standings stay as is, the Pistons would face the Magic in the first round; and I’m already on record as saying that Detroit would defeat Orlando in a seven game series (my boy Hakim has a bet on Detroit beating Orlando in the playoffs, let’s just hope the series happen).

In the Western Conference, the Lakers seem poised to keep the top spot throughout although the Spurs are creeping behind them. My one question about the Lakers right now is who do they want to face in the first round? Kobe has a history of royally lighting up the ass of the Mavericks and the Suns but I suspect that his points come easier against Phoenix. You have to figure that Gasol would rather face Dampier instead of getting beaten up down low by Shaq. But in the end, the losses that Kobe and the Lakers took at the hands of the Suns in Nash’s MVP years probably spice this match up more then the other. Taking out the Suns AND taking out Shaq? Kobe must see this the same way Wilt Chamberlain looked at every woman…..you’re next in line! While we’re discussing the Lakers, isn’t it odd that we have not heard Andrew Bynum’s name in like a while? Is he really coming back? Just food for thought.

The San Antonio Spurs right now are doing what they always do. The start out the season slow and start making a push after the All-Star break. This year’s push was postponed a little because Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were injured. However, Duncan is back and Ginobili should be back on the court within about a week’s time. So the Spurs and Lakers seem headed for a collision course in May, except there is an added wrinkle: San Antonio just signed Drew Gooden. On the surface, this might not look like much, but Gooden is a terrific offensive rebounder that might give Gasol and Odom some fits in the playoffs; mind you he is at times absent minded on defense and therefore might not ending playing in crunch time. Let’s make sure we keep an eye on that.

The Houston Rockets are better off right now without McGrady on the team. He stopped caring on defense and took more bad shots then the Hispanic gang members in the movie Falling Down (you know, when they do the drive by and try to kill Michael Douglas’ character, except they end up killing everybody on the street except him). That being said, his absence will hurt them. TMac was a very good pick and roll player who had the ability to come up in the clutch for you in any given game; his absence basically created a domino effect where Artest is now that guy for Houston. And if you thought McGrady’s shot selection was bad, wait until you see Ron Ron in the playoffs. In general, people don’t really talk about it much for him because he’s possibly crazier then Mike Tyson (and I say that in all seriousness), but Artest will take his team out of its offense every now and then. Yao Ming is their center and post player, but at times you will find Artest running into the box early in the offense and just start posting up, leaving Yao a little confused. But I will say this, the tag team of Artest and Battier on defense is just plain scary. These guys would match up perfectly against a team like Dallas or New Orleans. But as it stands right now, if the standings remain as such, they would have to face the Blazers. The one thing Houston would have going for them would be their ability to defend Brandon Roy, but besides that I could actually see Portland winning the series. One last thing though: in the back of our collective minds, we all think that McGrady might be on his way out; but what if the Rockets advance in the playoffs? Does TMac get traded to the Knicks? Or possibly to the Thunder? Does he get waived? Like I said, the NBA is entertainment right now.