Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth …
Having surpassed the midpoint of the NBA season and with its mid-season festivities , now a mere memory (All Star Game) with the event itself little more than a repartee the participants from both conferences in what was a totally meaningless , uninteresting and uncompetitive game . What now becomes something of a dash to the end of the regular season, will have teams jostling and jockeying for positions within their divisions , within the Eastern and Western Conference . To suggest that the play , in particular, within the East has been bad , would definitely be an understatement . How anyone can now believe that the NBA is now in better place from a competitive standpoint , than it was a decade or even fifteen years ago , would have to be seen as complete idiocy ! Currently , there are no budding team rivalries that have captivated the television audience much less the fans in the seats at the venues around the league , yet somehow there are those with less than a modicum of actual intelligence trying to suggest otherwise.
Coming into this season, it was felt that the Chicago Bulls would be one of the teams meeting the challenge of being considered amongst the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference, to challenge the might of conference frontrunners, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat . With the loss of Derrick Rose , to a prolonged injury for the second time inside of two years , the team’s chances were deemed lost. However, with what was at first thought to be an abandoning of a spirited fight for a playoff berth and a divisional title , with GM Gar Forman making the decision to trade the team’s best player , with the exception of Rose , with the jettisoning of Luol Deng , which now on the face of it, now seems to be something of an ingenious move . At 29-25 as of Saturday 22nd February , the Bulls possess the fourth best record within the Eastern Conference while seated in second place , some twelve games behind the Indiana Pacers, who remain at the top of the Central Division , as they have done for the majority of this season .
Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff seem to be working a minor miracle, with the current players on the roster, now buying to into his goals and standards . One shudders to think, how good this team might have been, had Rose not gone down to a second knee injury and Deng were still playing alongside the point guard . The leg injury , which many thought may well threaten his long-term career, because, it was deemed something of a re-occurrence of the ailment, suffered before . The talk within the organization, is that the player will return for the 2014-15 season, having fully recuperated and ready to play with his usual exuberance which has been display ever since he was drafted by the Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft as the number one overall pick . In each of the subsequent years , Rose’s game has blossomed, to the point where he had become one the league’s best point guards as well having won a League MVP. An astonishing achievement , considering the length of his fledgling NBA career at the time.
Coming off a well-deserved victory over the Denver Nuggets , the Bulls can now feel that there remains a great deal to play for over the remainder of their season’s schedule. Obviously the divisional race is beyond their reach, but chasing down that third place within the conference, where the surprisingly resilient Toronto Raptors (30-25) now hold a mere half game lead over the Tom Thibodeau coached team.
Next up for the Bulls, will be a game where they will surely get to test their new-found resolve when they are the guests of the Miami Heat at the AA Arena on Sunday afternoon, one of eight games scheduled to be played on the day . The season series between the two Eastern Conference teams, is tied at one game apiece(1-1) , with the Bulls winning the last contest in Chicago at the United Center , in Chicago, Illinois , 107-87. Their fourth and final meeting of the season of the series will take place again in Chicago on the 9th March. As things now stand, were the season to end as of today, with the Chicago Bulls still holding down their current position within the conference , their projected first round meeting as the number four seed , would seem them face the Washington Wizards over whom they hold a 2-0 series’ lead in their meetings over the course this season’s NBA schedule. A first round win, would lead then lead to a conference semifinals’ match-up against the number one-seeded Indiana Pacers , and from there the sky would be the limit , were they to pull off such a victory over what has been very good Pacers’ team throughout this season.
As great a player as Michael Jordan was said to be , his years as NBA executive have not been all that kind to perhaps the NBA’s greatest player over the last twenty-five years. OK, so we place Jordan on the Mt Rushmore of all-time greats , placing him above the stature of players such as Wilt Chamberlain , Magic Johnson , Julius Irving , Bill Russell , Bob Cousy , John Havlicek , Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson . As subjective as the topic will always be trying adjudge players from different eras , when the game has changed considerably , has never been an easy thing to do , no matter what arguments one tries to use placate or make a point . The idiocy of many suggesting Babe Ruth to be the greatest player in baseball history holds about as much weight , as the Titanic , after it struck an iceberg , sank in the middle of the Atlantic , thereby leaving the world to acknowledge at the time , one of the greatest maritime disasters to take place in oceanic passenger maritime history. As good as Ruth was said to be , does anyone truly believe that he could have competed against players at their peak , such as Willie Mays , Hank Aaron , Ken Griffey Jr , Barry Bonds (pre-steroids, whenever that might have been ) , much less have dealt with pitchers, such as Sandy Koufax , Greg Maddux , Pedro Martinez , Tom Seaver Randy Johnson , Nolan Ryan and lamentably without really wanting to sink such low depths Roger Clemens ? Horses for different courses , but at the end of the day , what we ought to be truly acknowledging about many of these athletes , has to be either their longevity or consistency , if not both , as the case maybe . Baseball and basketball historians can be left to argue amongst themselves , because in essence, the fans don’t necessarily care about their opinions on the matter , knowing full well , that they cannot always be trusted to show any type impartiality , much less be subjective .
I believe the writing was on the wall with regard to Michael Jordan being lured into the front office executive and the business side of the NBA , simply because David Stern , did not want to lose the game’s biggest asset in the aftermath of his retirement finally from the game in 2003 ! Backdoor wheeling and dealing , led to Jordan being named the . Head of Basketball Operations with the Washington Wizards. Once there, having bought a minority stake in the franchise , his relationship with owner Abe Pollin , was said to be tepid at best . He may well have brought some pizzazz back to the still dormant franchise , but in name only , because nothing concerning their play during the years he was a de-facto general manager suggested he knew what he was doing. Still regarded to this day, as one of the biggest blunders in NBA Draft history was the Wizards’ drafting of Kwame Brown as the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft .
Michael Jordan believed Brown to be the best , of the crop of centers available in the Draft that season amongst college and high school players , who at the time were eligible (eighteen years old as NBA requirement , having graduated). The fact should you choose to peruse down that list for yourself , one could have found a litany of far more talented players than Brown at the position sought by Jordan . In the aftermath of this astounding pick , the fortunes of the Wizards simply went downhill and along with it , the former NBA great and his relationship with Abe Pollin , that would take a turn for the worst. Jordan sold his stake in the team and went off to pursue other business interests , while still presiding over a multimillion dollar business empire and his growing fortune.
All you need to know about Kwame Brown’s rookie season , was the fact he averaged 6.6 points per game and was never a factor in any game played by the Wizards that season , much less over the ensuing years did his game ever take shape, or the fact that Jordan may well have taught him nothing by way of the expectations of being a professional basketball player in the NBA .
A second opportunity would arise for Michael Jordan return to the NBA in another executive capacity , as this time billionaire media magnate Robert L Johnson invited the North Carolina native join him on the board and ownership group of the Charlotte Bobcats (who were then known as the Hornets). Johnson would relinquish controlling interest in the franchise selling his stake for a reputed $ 400 million at the time .
At 26-30 and holding down the seventh seed within the Eastern Conference the Charlotte Bobcats may well be on the cusp of doing something extraordinary during the ownership tenure of Michael Jordan. If they are able to maintain their current pace and lock down that seeding by the end of the season , then the franchise would be on the cusp of making its first playoff appearance , with Jordan as their owner. Consider the fact that the last time the Bobcats made the NBA Playoffs , came in 2010 . Being swept 4-0 , by the Orlando Magic , left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Bobcats’ players in that first round series’ loss , which was simply so lopsided !
Coached by Steve Clifford and ably assisted by lead assistant and assistant head coach , Patrick Ewing . It now looks, as if this Bobcats’ team in its current guise has some resilience about it. With a mixture of seasoned veterans and young players drafted and developed with the deft coaching of Clifford , Ewing and the rest of the coaching staff . I am not about to suggest that the Bobcats could send a few shock-waves around the NBA this postseason , but given the right set of circumstances, they might just be able to shake a first round opponent into some kind of complacency . Where it could be taken from there, would be dependent upon the mindset shown by players such as Ben Gordon , Kemba Walker , Cody Zeller , Gerald Henderson , Al Jefferson , Josh McRoberts and Gary Neal . Add in the fact that the Bobcats might have a possible Rookie of the Year Candidate in, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist , playing very well and quite possibly , there could very well be an upset in the making . Michael Jordan needs the Bobcats to be a competitive success as well as a commercial success , if the franchise is to remain viable in North Carolina , where College Basketball is the ” real magnet “ within the state, that draws some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in the game to see programs such as Duke (Blue Devils) , UNC (Tar Heels) and others that have made a name for themselves as being amongst the very best of what the NCAA has to offer at the Collegiate Level .
As if to emphasize that the Bobcats mean business, the team was able to push even closer towards that goal of a postseason berth, by taking down the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon , with a hard-fought 92-89 victory .
I think that it would be safe to suggest , that over the past six seasons the Detroit Pistons have been a conundrum and a puzzle all wrapped up into one. In that time, GM Joe Dumars , has literally sought to ruin the franchise rather than seek its improvement . Billionaire entrepreneur , Tom Gores , having bought this storied NBA franchise , has seen the team this season be mired in mediocrity, having posted a 23-33 record within the Eastern Conference. The firing of Maurice Cheeks , as the head coach of the team, speaks volumes as how out of depth , touch and with reality the Pistons now appear to be.
From my own standpoint, Gores has been ill-served in his retention of Dumars as the general manager of the Detroit Pistons. Gone are those years of consistency , when you knew that they would be a prominent and perennial contender for the NBA Playoffs and their surprising and lopsided Finals’ win over what was seen as a formidable Los Angeles Lakers’ team that fielded several future Hall of Fame candidates , only indicates how astonishing that series’ victory was at the time . The Pistons in their current guise , are a pale shadow of the team that won the 2004 NBA Finals over what was highly favored Lakers’ lineup coached by Phil Jackson , whose opposite number was another legendary coach in , Larry Brown . With their last postseason, coming in 2009 , it is extremely difficult to see what Joe Dumars and Tom Gores will seek to gain out of this season . Had Dumars decided to make the announcement at the beginning of the year , that it would be the franchise’s intent to rebuild around the talents of Brandon Jennings , Andre Drummond , Josh Smith and Greg Monroe , then perhaps it might have sat well with the Pistons’ fans. . Instead, the fans in attendance at the Palace of Auburn Hills , have willingly voiced their disapproval of the team, but voiced the majority of their indignation towards Joe Dumars , and quite rightly so , as he has failed to acknowledge that he is as much to blame for the team’s woes , as was Maurice Cheeks, in some small part. .
Kobe Bryant can now be seen, as an elder statesman within the NBA. No longer the best player in the league , which he undoubtedly was , for several seasons , before the rise to prominence of LeBron James . With his and the Los Angeles Lakers’ window of opportunity now dwindling for him to add personally, a sixth NBA title to his career resumes’ and for the franchise to add to another , which they last won in 2010 . Of late, Bryant has once again began to show his ongoing immaturity and his disdain for the Lakers’ ownership , when he faces on-court adversity . Granted, this season he has been limited to a mere handful of games , before injury wreaked havoc on his aging body . Let us begin to see things in perspective, Bryant , an aging Steve Nash , Jodie Meeks , Pau Gasol , Xavier Henry , Chris Kaman and Nick Young , were never really seen as a legitimate contender for a conference title , much less the NBA championship itself, this season . Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak undoubtedly , already with an eye on next season’s list of marquee free agents, has now begun to dismantle the remnants of this season’s roster. While Bryant, remains the biggest asset and factor that the organization has , it does seem now ill-served that they re-signed him that ridiculous two-year $48.5 million contract . Kupchak’s first order of business , was to send Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors at the trade deadline .
Bryant felt that without being consulted by either Mitch Kupchak or team owner Jim Buss , as to the trade of Steve Blake, it was simply a mark of disrespect on their part. Last I looked, it was not Bryant’s signature signing the paychecks of the employees of the Lakers’ organization and though in recent years he has played a large part in the franchise’s recent success . The Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise is owned by Jim Buss and it is his, to do with, as he so pleases, in conjunction, in working with Mitch Kupchak, as it relates to player personnel decisions.
To understand the plight of the Lakers’ season and the continued idiocy of their fans , the lack coaching acumen shown by Mike D’Antoni , his coaching staff , but more so the complacency shown by Mitch Kupchak in seeking to rebuild the roster through the draft and developing talent from within , will always continue to be the boon for this franchise. Now while they can point to the their multiple titles won and Hall of Fame players that are part of the Lakers’ legacy . Can we now readily admit that upon Bryant’s retirement , it could very well be a number of years before the franchise is back to the unprecedented heights of success that it has seen in the past . The failed experiment in acquiring Dwight Howard last season , resulted in Howard’s lack of leadership skills , being unable to give any memorable performances , much less being seen as a likely successor to take over the reins from Kobe Bryant , at what would be deemed his actual time of departure . Howard parlayed that one season of misfortune in Los Angeles into a sizable contract with the Houston Rockets , where he is now playing “second fiddle “ to James Harden , Chandler Parsons , Jeremy Lin and the sortie of players that now make up the Rockets’ roster . The fact , that Houston, seen at the preseason as a conference titlist at the start of the season , are domiciled in a non-major market , may well have played a great in the decision of Dwight Howard to seek his fortune elsewhere . As good a center as he is said to be , he is simply not capable enough of carrying a team on his shoulders to any semblance of real success and by that I mean an NBA title ! Idiot fans who point to his years in Orlando with the Orlando Magic are simply showing their complete lack of intelligence and knowledge of the NBA overall !
With three teams firmly rooted at the bottom of the Western Conference, with shared records of 19-36 as of 22nd February , seeing the Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz , all sharing that same mark , really does put into perspective how dire the season has become for a number of franchises around the NBA. Of the teams with a a lower mark in the league as a whole , one only has to view the bottom of the Eastern Conference to see why the play there has been harangued all season long , in spite of the idiocy of some who suggest that the outgoing commissioner has nothing to do with the present mess. The changes brought within the NBA over the past decade alone , have David Stern’s imprints all over them , along with that of the NBPA Executive Committee (Players’ Union) , owners and the NCAA . Failure in acknowledging that lone fact once again points to the lack of intelligence of those who come up with the most ridiculous of assumptions as it comes to the lack of competitiveness within the NBA at present. No team rivalries that truly capture the fans’ imagination and only wishful thinking on the part of some who now suggest that a Heat vs Pacers’ rivalry will bring the league some much sort after relevance , will only need to look at that particular record over the past two years to realize that it simply has no weight to it as an argument if adjudged against classic NBA team rivalries of the past.
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Picture gallery .
The second half the NBA season is now underway and what if anything do you hope to see materialize as the season meanders towards its inevitability of the regular season schedule ? In light of the troubles now facing the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers , which organization do you believe is the best equipped to turn around their misfortunes in the least amount of time ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !
Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
(1) Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers , who was the recipient of this season’s All Star Game MVP Award . Irving and the Cavaliers will be looking to a far more positive start to the second half of the team’s season . Former GM Chris Grant was fired by owner Dan Gilbert , with the owner offering his compliments to Grant for his stewardship as the lead front office executive during his four-year tenure . NBAE/ Getty Images / Stan Howe …
(2) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose (1) is seen here with teammate Luol Deng (9). With Gar Forman thinking ahead and perhaps looking to slash the team’s payroll, the decision was made to trade Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers . With Rose sidelined for the entire Bulls’ regular season schedule , it was thought that the team would likely flounder within the Eastern Conference , but they have proven to be surprisingly resilient , while currently holding down the fourth best record in the East. Tom Thibodeau has his players playing in unison , as a team and they could pose a serious threat to the two contenders in the conference at whatever stage were they to meet. AP Photo / Alex Marsh ….
(3) Kwame Brown , is seen here being congratulated by NBA Commissioner David Stern , with the player being drafted as the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards . Brown was taken by Michael Jordan , who at the time was Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise where he also happened to be a minority stakeholder in the Wizards. Kwame Brown’s career with the Wizards would prove to be non-eventful , as has been the rest of his career since entering the NBA straight out of high school . Along the way his career earnings from the NBA have surpassed $ 60 million , without the player ever positing double-digit figures in assists or points per game over the course of his NBA career except for one season in 2003 . AP Photo/ Chris Martin …
(4) Michael Jordan, center, smiles as he shakes hands with Washington Wizards minority owner , Ted Leonsis , left, and Wizards majority owner , Abe Pollin , Thursday, Jan. 19, 2000 at the MCI center in Washington, D.C. Jordan’s relationship with the Washington Wizards has deteriorated to the point that he and the franchise might part ways, The New York Times reported Sunday, May 4, 2003 With Jordan’s departure and the subsequent death of Abe Pollin , Leonsis would assume control of the franchise , buying the stake then held by the Pollin family estate. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ..
(5) Michael Jordan is seen here with Kemba Walker at the Charlotte Bobcats’ home venue the Time Warner Cable Arena , in Charlotte , North Carolina . Walker a first round draft pick by the Bobcats is looking to lead the team this into the postseason for the first time since 2010 . Jordan as the Chairman , CEO and majority stakeholder in the franchise has long wished to have the Bobcats make the postseason during his tenure as the team’s primary owner , given his postseason heroics as a player with the Chicago Bulls as well as during the regular season where he also won six NBA titles with the revered franchise , this could very well be the year that it happens for the Charlotte Bobcats . A great of that will however be predicated upon the play of Kemba Walker and that of his teammates . AP Photo / Dave Moss ….
(6) Kobe Bryant (24) is seen here alongside teammate and close confidante Steve Blake , a point guard with the Lakers . In the aftermath of Blake’s trade to the Golden State Warriors , with Bryant voicing his displeasure , as to the decision made by GM Mitch Kupchak , but countenanced by team owner , Jim Buss . Having signed a two-year $48.5 million contract with the franchise , one seriously doubts that Kobe Bryant would once again seem himself at odds with the Lakers’ two lead front office executives concerning a player personnel decision made . Yet, this has not been the first time that the All Star guard has voiced displeasure over such a decision, made . Getty Images / Paul Dominguez …..
(7) AUBURN HILLS, MI – JUNE 23: (L-R) Joe Dumars , President of the Detroit Pistons and Tom Gores , Owner of the Detroit Pistons ‘fist bump’ to show their excitement during the Detroit Pistons Draft Night Party at the Palace of Auburn Hills on June 23, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Pistons’ picks were not overly impressive in light of Dumars’ decisions made as to the franchise’s needs . Three years later and it would appear that the fortunes of the Pistons were no better then , than they are now , in terms of the team’s competitiveness . NBAE Photo by Allen Einstein / NBAE via Getty Images ….
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This month in NBA history
I’m wondering where they have hidden the bar of soap ?
She’s got no one to play with , but herself . So sad , too bad !