Saturday, September 17, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired Up For the 2005-06 NBA Season - #25

The Celtics' Gerald Green

Promising Youth Movements

Yeah I know I was supposed to get this up yesterday and failed miserably. But c'mon, ND was battling MSU in overtime, the Yankees were holding onto a 1-0 lead for two hours, and on top of all that my girlfriend was here visiting from Philly. I tried really hard to get this up Saturday, I did. But give me a freakin’ break.

Today I'm all yours, here to talk about the three biggest youth movements currently progressing in the NBA. First of all, what is a youth movement? If you don't know or can't figure it out, seriously ex out this article, get up off your chair, go to the highest point in your house and jump out the window. You're useless. The 4 PM NFL games are on right now, so I'm not going to write out some elaborate intro, this is it. I'm jumping right into the teams, ok? Here goes...

1. Boston Celtics

SF Gerald Green (R), 19 years old
PF Al Jefferson, 2nd year, 20 years old
C Kendrick Perkins, 3rd year, 20 years old
G Delonte West, 2nd year, 22 years old
PG Will Bynum, 1st year, 22 years old
F Ryan Gomes, 1st year, 23 years old
PG Orien Greene, 1st year, 23 years old
G Tony Allen, 2nd year, 23 years old
F Justin Reed, 2nd year, 23 years old
PG Marcus Banks, 3rd year, 24 years old
F Qyntel Woods, 4th year, 24 years old

Analysis: That’s right, eleven players on their current 17-man roster who are under 25 years of age. What makes this even more incredible is that probably only two of them (Bynum and Woods) will be cut by the time October rolls around. Add to it that of the remaining six players on the Celts, no one has even eclipsed the age of 30 (Mark Blount is 29). Is this a formula for success? Well only time will tell, but clearly Danny Ainge has done an excellent job bringing in talented young players. Green and Jefferson have the potential to be perennial All-Stars. Ryan Gomes was a First-Team All-American. Tony Allen helped get Oklahoma State to a Final Four. Delonte West put a no-name school in Saint Joseph’s on the national map. The Boston brass also believes that Perkins has the makings to be a defensive star in this league. As for the others, well Banks can absolutely fly but needs to learn how to run an offense. Reed is a shut down 3 and could get extended looks this season backing up Paul Pierce. Greene and Bynum will join Banks, West, and Dan Dickau in what will prove to be an intense battle for starting point guard duties. All in all, Ainge has brought in a crop of guys that could produce up to 1-2 stars and 3-5 solid role players in the coming years. If all goes well, many of these players will be playing a big role in helping to restore the honor of this Boston franchise.

Forecasting the Future: Don’t expect another division title, at least not this season. As with any young team, we have to expect the Celtics to show their immaturity and struggle with more experienced ball clubs. While New Jersey is one injury away from being a .500 team, and we cannot count on Iverson and Webber to be bosom buddies in Philly, the chances of the Celtics winning back-to-back Atlantic titles are pretty dim. While my expectations of this team are not too high for 05-06, I fully expect them to take this division and conference by storm in two years and for the next decade after that. Ainge has brought in some tremendously talented kids here and the odds of them all failing are about as slim as Robert Traylor.

2005-06 Record: 40-42

2. Portland Trailblazers

F Martell Webster, 1st year, 18 years old
PG Sebastian Telfair, 2nd year, 20 years old
C Ha Seung-Jin, 2nd year, 20 years old
PG Jarrett Jack, 1st year, 21 years old
F Travis Outlaw, 3rd year, 21 years old
SF Sergei Monia, 1st year, 22 years old
SF Viktor Khryapa, 2nd year, 23 years old
F Darius Miles, 6th year, 23 years old
PF Zach Randolph, 5th year, 24 years old
C Joel Przybilla, 6th year, 25 years old

Analysis: Portland has put their stock in drafting high school players each of the past two seasons. Last year it was Telfair, who showed mini glimpses of stardom in 04-05 but really showed his worth this summer, averaging 18.7 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 1.2 SPG at the Vegas Summer League. Not only did he receive 1st Team All-VSL, but also gave the Portland brass confidence that their future is in good hands. This year’s first rounder, Webster, tallied 12.7 PPG in 32.8 minutes in Vegas, extremely solid numbers for a kid just 18 years of age. One guy who may push Webster to the bench however, is Outlaw. After dropping 32 in the VSL opener, Travis went on to average 18.7 PPG for the tournament along with earning 1st Team honors. But, I’m afraid the logjam at the 3 doesn’t end there. Another player these two will have to battle in camp is the veteran Miles. While we can all safely label DM a bust so far, don’t forget that he dropped a cool 48 and 12 in the last week of the 04-05 season, showing he certainly still has the talent to excel in this league. Count on new coach Nate McMillan to sort out who belongs and who doesn’t very early in his tenure. In addition to these four potential stars, remember Randolph? The same guy who showed signs of stardom two years ago in averaging 20.1 PPG and 10.5 RPG? Last season he missed 36 games due to injury but the Blazers are counting on him to regain his 2003-04 form and solidify the middle for the next 10 years. As for Przybilla, the guy came out of nowhere last season to be a double-double center with shot-blocking ability. In fantasy leagues across the globe everyone did a collective “what the fuck?” at first, but a week later he was off the universal waiver wire. There’s no telling where Joel will go from here. As for Jin, Jack, Monia, and Khryapa, I don’t expect anything from this group and neither should you.

Forecasting the Future: If Randolph can return to All-Star form, two out of the Miles-Outlaw-Webster group can step up, and Telfair can be a 15-7 guy with a solid assist-to-turnover ratio, Portland can make the Playoffs. At the same time, if I can hit on two $125,000 lotto scratch-offs tonight, put it in a bullshit stock tomorrow, and watch as it quadruples in the next three days, I can be a millionaire by Friday. In other words, expect the Blazers to win 25-30 games and remain a few seasons away from competing. I do expect Miles to finally show some signs of life this season and firmly believe that Outlaw is crap. Webster and Telfair will make a dope backcourt 2-3 years down the road, but let’s wait until they can legally drink alcohol first.

2005-06 Record: 29-53

3. Atlanta Hawks

G Cenk Aknol, 1st year, 18 years old
F Marvin Williams, 1st year, 19 years old
GF Josh Smith, 2nd year, 19 years old
C Zaza Pachulia, 3rd year, 21 years old
GF Donta Smith, 2nd year, 21 years old
GF Josh Childress, 2nd year, 22 years old
G Salim Stoudamire, 1st year, 22 years old
PG Royal Ivey, 2nd year, 23 years old
C John Edwards, 2nd year, 24 years old
GF Joe Johnson, 5th year, 24 years old
F Al Harrington, 8th year, 25 years old

Analysis: Well, I sure would hope that the worst team in the league would be stock-piled with young talent. The good news is that Johnson and Williams are going to be stars in this league, the former sooner rather than later. In coming over from Phoenix, we should expect Johnson to take this team into his own hands and average 20+ PPG right away. Williams on the other hand, should take a few years to develop. In only playing one season at UNC, Marv will need the practice and humiliation of his first two years in the league to see what it takes to become a true star. The bad news is that I have no clue what to expect from the Smiths, Childress, Pachulia, and Stoudamire. This group is surrounded by questions. For instance, yes Josh won the Slam Dunk Contest and showed signs of being a nice all-around player, but can he be consistent? Can he avoid injuries hoping and leaping all over the court? Can we really count on a guy named Donta? Can Childress gain any weight? Can we expect Salim to continue stroking the 3 at less than 6 feet? These are questions that Atlanta will hopefully find the answers to starting this season. As for Cenk Aknol (which sounds like a headache medicine), Edwards (who should just stay in politics), and Ivey (not a true PG), don’t expect much.

Forecasting the Future: Face it, this team STINKS. On the bright side, both Johnson and Williams should put more fans in the seats and give everyone in that city bright hopes for the future. How far down the line that future will be is a question no one has the answer to. I guess it depends on how the other youngsters develop and how well they can accept their roles on this young team. Mike Woodson is a solid coach and should put 5-7 more W’s on the board this season, but not many more than that. The Hawks still need to bring in a better PG than Tyronn Lue and Ivey, and my guess is that they’ll have no problem doing so with one of the first 3 picks next season.

2005-06 Record: 20-62


At 8:52 PM, Blogger asdf said...

Hey, you should deserve the weekend like the rest of us. Don't worry about getting this up a day late.

2 things real quick. That font is hard as hell to read. I blur the lines together and it was taking forever to finish. And Delonte West HELPED put St Joe's on the map. I think Jameer Nelson was responsible for putting them at the top of college basketball for a year or two.

Other then that I love the blog.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Thanks fot the comments. Sorry about the font, no one else seems to have a problem. As for Delonte, I went to St. Joes and trust me, he was just as important to that run as Jameer was. Nelson got all the credit, but without West, the Hawks would have been a 1st round knockout. Thanks for reading...

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Mike said...

First of all, great blog. Second, you could easily add the Bulls to the list as well:

SF Luol Deng, 2nd Year, 20 years old
SG Ben Gordon, 2nd Year, 22 years old
SG Eddie Basden, 1st Year, 22 years old
C Eddy Curry, 5th Year, 22 years old
C/F Tyson Chandler, 5th Year, 22 years old
PG Chris Duhon, 2nd Year, 23 years old
PG Kirk Hinrich, 3rd Year, 24 years old
SF Andres Nocioni, 2nd Year, 25 years old
PG Jannero Pargo, 4th Year, 25 years old

I'll take that youth movement over the Celts, Blazers and Hawks any day.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Mike, very good point. Paul and I just felt like the "Baby Bulls" are always being discussed and so we wanted to focus on other teams headed in that same direction. You're absolutely right though, that Bulls squad looks pretty dope.


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