The Give and Go
By Charlie Zegers and Chris Liss
RotoWire Staff Writers
Subject: Give and Go
Date: December 31, 2007 7:42 AM PDT
So as we close the books on 2007... what's the biggest surprise?
- The Utah Jazz are playing .500 ball.
- So are the Rockets.
- Meanwhile, there are just six teams in the East with winning records... and one of those is the Atlanta Hawks.
If the playoffs started today (yes, I know, this is a pointless and annoying phrase, but it serves as a jumping-off point...) Utah and Houston would be calling for tee-times, as would the Cavs and Bulls. New Orleans and Portland would be seeded ahead of Dallas. Indiana would be a seven seed. And Miami would have more ping-pong balls in the lottery than the lowly Knicks or Grizzlies.
What up with that?
We're also approaching the February trade deadline now... Utah and the Sixers got the ball rolling with their "Kyle Korver to Salt Lake to get Gordan Giricek out of Jerry Sloan's hair" deal. That one strikes me as a fantasy non-event, though it could mean some additional run for Philly's youngsters. Who do you think is the next player on the move? Will Ron Artest's elbow injury or Miami's putrid (8-23) record put the kibosh on the "Bibby and Artest to South Beach" deal?
Let's see if we can get in some hoop discussion before Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest take over the TV.
Subject: Re: Give and Go
Date: December 31, 2007 9:11 PM PDT
A few things surprise me - there's the obvious biggest surprise, the Blazers, who lost the best prospect since LeBron James and are somehow tied with Denver atop the Northwest, but I also didn't think Detroit would be playing this well with an aging core that seemed ready for a breakup. And the Celtics experiment had plenty of promise, but 26-3? That's a pace for eight or nine losses on the year. It's crazy (and from my vantage point extremely annoying) that Boston could have two regular-season record breaking franchises in the same year. And we're not talking about breaking the best-field-goal-percentage-allowed record, or some obscure stat like that - we're talking about most wins in a single season - that's on paragraph one of page one in the record book.
The Jazz are a surprise to me, too - they just seemed so solid toward the end of last year and in the playoffs - if any team besides the Spurs had a high floor, it was them. But Mehmet Okur and now Kirilenko have been banged up, so maybe that contributed to it a bit. The Rockets seem surprising from the outside looking in, but I cover them, so it's less of a mystery. Essentially, they have a constantly less-than-100-percent superstar in Tracy McGrady (who now might miss two more weeks with a knee injury), a tremendous offensive center in Yao whose defense is so-so, and a bunch of other perimeter players (Shane Battier, Luther Head, Rafer Alston, Bonzi Wells, Mike James) who haven't been knocking down enough open shots. Head might be their best bet when McGrady's out, but he's a defensive liability against bigger guards, so Wells plays, but he can't knock down the three reliably. And don't forget the team is still adjusting to Rick Adelman's system which is far different from Jeff Van Gundy's. I wonder whether the Rockets aren't a rich man's version of the Knicks - plenty of talent that doesn't fit together exactly.
I'm glad Miami's bad because other than Wade that team was completely unwatchable even when they were winning. Maybe they'll change it up some.
Artest would be out only a few weeks even if he has surgery, so that deal could still happen. I'm not sure that it would be enough, though. How good is Mike Bibby at this point anyway? And Shaq is no longer a superstar.
Any big plans for New Year's Charlie? Drinking champagne while writing: "Working the Wire?"
Subject: Give and Go
Date: December 31, 2007 10:00 AM PDT
I was sick for the whole Christmas break and am still on antibiotics, so I'll skip the champagne this year.
Actually... wait. You just gave me a built-in excuse for making bad picks this week. A better one than "I can't figure out what the hell Sam Vincent is doing with his rotation" anyway. So yes. Yes, I'll be drinking heavily while writing my waiver wire selections.
My other big plan -- Santa brought me a copy of NBA Live 2008. If I can get the kids in bed at a reasonable hour, I might spend a little time trying to trade Stephon Marbury to anyone who will take him. (Even in video games, the Knicks damn near un-fix-able. At least I don't have to deal with a virtual sexual harassment suit -- the game just ain't that realistic.)
Subject: Re: Give and Go
Date: December 31, 2007 11:32 PM PDT
If you're sick, I'd stay away from the Champale you're thinking of drinking and switch to bourbon - it warms the entire chest cavity and flushes out the illness. It's like attacking the bacteria with a poison tidal wave rather than simply having your immune system wage a protracted ground war.
I don't buy video games because I'm terrified of the time I'd waste playing them. I've got too many fantasy teams and I play poker (not online anymore, that was a disastrous waste of time even though I was winning), so that's about as much addictive entertainment as my schedule allows. Plus, if the game lets you trade Marbury at this point, you should return it. (Seems like it's giving you a hard time, though, which is good).
Maybe when I retire, I'll buy the 2008 version on Ebay and make it my mission to win a championship with the Knicks.
Happy New Year.
Article first appeared on 12/31/07