Q: Right now, hand on heart, where do you see our Cavaliers finishing out the season? Please tell me I’m not alone in thinking we can make the playoffs? – “LeQuitness”, Ohio
A: First off – I’m loving the alter ego you’re rocking right now, I’ve heard a lot of variations on his name and LeQuitness is right up there. As of right now, we’re pretty much very involved in the playoff mix. Like I said before, in the East we have five definite playoff teams – Boston, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta and Chicago. I didn’t pick Milwaukee to make the playoffs, even if I did get some flak for it from certain people. New York to me don’t have the desire to play defense to get there; Charlotte are strong enough and will at some stage hit a patch where they win games for fun; Indiana have surprised me and Washington will go as far as John Wall takes them. Detroit, New Jersey, Toronto, Philadelphia and our Cavaliers are pretty much at the same level right now, and wedged firmly between playoff team and lottery bound.
Hand on heart; I genuinely feel that we’ll sneak into the playoffs via the 8th spot. Our bench, coach, cap space at the deadline will make a difference come seasons end. New York, Philadelphia, Washington and New Jersey may have the better individual talent – but as a team and as a group I think we’re better and hungrier. Expect playoff basketball at the Q again this season my man, and if not I guarantee you we’ll have given a monumental effort in trying to get there.
Q: Who have been your surprise teams thus far this season? – Mike
A: Miami, New Orleans, San Antonio and Houston to name just four. Miami for the wrong reasons, I honestly can’t believe that they’re 8-6. I know it takes time to build chemistry and what have you, but I thought that the sheer talent on that roster would at least have them at 10 wins. Being honest, they should never have lost that game against Utah and they had the Memphis game wrapped up but brain farted their way to a loss. New Orleans have been incredible, but I’d argue that out of their opening 13 games they’ve had a rather soft schedule. Granted they’ve beaten quality teams (Denver, Miami, @ San Antonio, Portland) but I think they’ve had a favourable-ish opening few weeks. Please don’t hate me New Orleans, I’ll redeem myself in the next question. The Spurs have basically just steamrolled their way through the past three weeks, and right now as a team look as good as they have done since we let them scrimmage for four games against us in the 2007 NBA Finals. And this is with Tim Duncan averaging a mere 14 points and 9 rebounds. Houston on paper is a playoff team, but basketball is played on the hardwood now isn’t it. Luis Scola is like a man possessed, but as a whole they’ve under whelmed. I can’t put my finger on why it’s going wrong down there, but maybe ranking 28
Q: If you had to name your MVP right now, who would it be and why? Likewise, your Rookie of the Year? – Joe, Oakland
A: My rookie of the year is, sorry Blake Griffin fans, but John Wall. He’s been consistently fantastic this season, just look at his numbers. 18 points and 10 assists as a rookie is mighty good, and reaching double digit dimes in half your games thus far is even better. He’s been the scorer we knew he could be, but check out his passes and how he facilitates teammates aswell. Turnovers sure are an issue, but I’m happy letting him work out the flaws. My MVP is without question Chris Paul. Look at the roster he has around him, I mean, come on. Outside of West, Thornton and Ariza, would you genuinely say you’d try push a trade for anyone else on that roster? LeBron won the award with a much better supporting cast – it’s true – so for me, what Paul has done with this team after missing so much action, he gets my MVP. Closely followed by Pau Gasol (who has the highest PER in the league as I type this).
Q: Where does the future hols for New York and where do you see Carmelo and Paul playing in three years time? - Wayne
A: Lot of Chris Paul today isn’t there? Carmelo will ultimately end up in New York, I believe this because I think he wants it, I think his wife wants it no matter what she says and I think he’s sold on the idea of getting a big three to match that in Miami. But New York will have to wait until next summer because they don’t have the pieces to get him before the deadline. Do I see him ending the season as a Nugget? I wouldn’t put money on it, if that helps. Chris Paul is New Orleans basketball; if he feels he can win there and the organistaion is putting the right pieces around him and making the correct moves then I think he’ll be a Hornet for the foreseeable future. I also feel that if he thinks himself he can’t reach his goals there he’ll ultimately leave, which will be a disaster for the Hornets and a Godsend for whomever gets his considerable services. If I were to hand pick a team for either, I’d love to see Melo in a Bulls uniform and Paul in a Blazers/Thunder uniform, that’d be fun. Or, I’m sure we could accommodate those guys down the Q, what do we think??
Around the NBA
Farewell Jerry Stackhouse, hello Erick Dampier. The Miami Heat, giving old crap nobody wants a home. Rumour has it Pat Reilly is thinking of re-naming their home arena the Deerfield Beach Arena.
Matt Bonner leads the league in 3pt FG%. Somewhere, Brian Scalabrine is crying.
Billy Hunter is 99% sure there’ll be a lockout next summer…which is bad news for me because even with the league in full swing I still can’t fill this space with anything decent.