Friday, February 22, 2008

Playing the Educator

I got pretty bored this morning and decided that I was going to go through John Hollinger's Power Rankings and try to respond to each of the fan comments for as many teams as possible, taking advantage of the fact that 90% of sports fans are in need of re-educating. Maybe this will become a regular installment, hopefully all that will happen is that people will be pissed off.

1. Lakers: Send in your Los Angeles Lakers comments now.

You have arguably the best team on paper and in practice in the NBA, in one of the biggest, if not the biggest media markets in the country for basketball, and no one can send in a comment? Next time you cry about there being an East Coast bias in sports coverage, remember this.

2. Jazz: "The Jazz deserve some more credit. They did make it to the Western Conference Finals last year!" -MitchellChetBaker

The Jazz made it to the WCF last year by beating a Rockets team that deserves to be stripped of its "Clutch City" title and a worn out Warriors team. Beating an 8-seed in the Conference Semis does not automatically elevate you to elite status. Yes, the Jazz deserve credit, but not for that.

3. Celtics: "Boston is still playing really well. I'm not worried at all. Certainly not worried about losing to a team in the West. Think we will see GS in the playoffs? Nope." -incoherentbanter

Uh, it's a good thing you aren't worried about the West, because this season, the Celtics are 1-1 against the Pistons, 1-2 against the Magic, and 1-2 against the Cavs. The West is not where your troubles lie.

4. Hornets: "The Hornets are doing for the West what Detroit has done for the East -- emerge as a legitimate contender without a superstar. If they continue flying under the radar, the wins will keep coming." -skeebend

First of all, without a superstar? Does the name Chris Paul mean anything to you? Secondly, I doubt the Hornets are really still flying under anyone's radar, being the leader of a loaded Western Conference.

5. Pistons: "All I'm saying is the last time we were overloaded with talent like we are now was in '04 when we made a trade to bring in 'Sheed and we took it all. Something has to happen." -aboz1626

The last time the Pistons were overloaded with talent like they are now was in 2005 when they fielded a team of 4 All-stars and flamed out in the Eastern Conference Finals like they will this year.

6. Raptors: "I don't see the Raps just being a dark horse in the East, after this easy stretch in the schedule they will be contenders and have momentum going into a tough March playoff run." -raptorsman81

The easy stretch in the schedule will pad their record, but come playoff time, they'll find themselves fighting for home court in the first round, barring huge stumbles by the big 4 (I assume Cleveland will pick it up after their trade). I'm pretty sure that's basically the definition of a dark horse.

7. Spurs: "Spurs have only struggled scoring since Parker has been out. When he plays we can score with anyone, it's been proven." -raideredking

According to, the Spurs score 111.1 points per 100 possesions when Parker is on the floor as opposed to 107.1 when he is not. Compare that to 118 points per 100 possesions when Nash is on the floor, 116 for Billups, 115 for CP3, 114 for D. Will, and 114 for B. Diddy. Now, where's your proof?

8. Suns: Send in your Phoenix Suns comments now.

No one has anything at all about Shaq on this team? Come on West Coast.

9. Magic: "The Magic should definitely be trying to get Haslem if possible. Just don't give up Dooling in the deal! The last thing they need to do is trade their only defensively minded guard." -sjs47

Getting Haslem makes a lot of sense when your frontline already consists of Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu. Good thing you aren't running the Magic front office.

10. Rockets: "It's only a matter of time before Houston is in the top 4 of the Western Conference. The team surrounding Yao and McGrady has become a winning team." -ARocker22

The Rockets are definitely not better than the Lakers. I would even say no to the Jazz and Hornets. It just comes down to the debate we had at the beginning of the season: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, or Phoenix? (Note: I'm pretty sure I'd consider the Spurs on the same level as the Jazz and Hornets. I put Dallas and Phoenix a tier lower because there are too many questions regarding their new acquisitions.)

11. Mavericks: "He's successfully taken one of the best scoring teams in the NBA and turned them into a team that can't shoot to save their lives." -zrick

I can only assume that by "He," you mean Mark Cuban with his recent acquisition of Jason Kidd. Or are you referring to Avery Johnson's slower paced iso-offense? In any case, last time I checked Dirk was still shooting 47% from the floor for the season, which is exactly his career average. And by the way:

Dallas '07-'08 FG%: .462
Dallas '06-'07 FG%: .467
Dallas '05-'06 FG%: .462
Dallas '04-'05 FG%: .457 (Don Nelson's last season)
Dallas '03-'04 FG%: .459 (Steve Nash's last season)

12. Nuggets: Send in your Denver Nuggets comments now.

13. Warriors: "Some team out West this year will very likely be the greatest team in NBA history not to make the playoffs. W's are still in the driver seat for that dubious honor." -cornellbigred_1999

If by greatest, you mean the team with the best record, then yes, I would agree with you there (Though I'm still holding onto my bold Phoenix missing the playoffs prediction). As far as greatest as in best? I'm pretty sure that a couple teams would have a beef with that assessment.

14. Sixers: Send in your Philadelphia 76ers comments now.

15. Cavaliers: "Think how good this team would be if they still had Boozer. They'd be unstoppable. I think this team needs to trade Gooden and a few other guys to get a good solid power forward." -driggs1025

Driggs, your wish is Danny Ferry's command, provided that you think the Ben Wallace/Joe Smith combo amounts to a "good solid power forward"


I'm pooped and pretty sure that no one cares about the lower half of the rankings anyway. It was fun though, I could get used to this.