Thursday, December 01, 2005

Triple-Threat: Atlantic Division

Hey Vince, what's wrong buddy?

Yes folks, another new column. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean the Fantasy Reports are gone, but I can’t really come out with that piece on a weekly basis. It’s more like an every 3-week type of deal, ya know? Anyway, this new article is going to dissect each team by discussing one aspect I like, one I especially do NOT like (hate), and I’ll throw in one fantasy sleeper--since it wouldn’t make much sense to call this thing “Triple Threat” with only two pieces. Comprende? Let’s roll…

(Note: I'm doing this by division rather than conference because it just takes way too long to go through all 15 teams. With this format, hopefully I can throw 3-4 of these up per week. Hopefully.)


LIKE: Obviously I like what everyone else does: the fact that Iverson and Webber have decided/learned/agreed to play well together. Think about it, isn’t this something the Sixers probably should have thought about five years ago when AI was still in his mid-twenties? Since his rookie season, Philly management has stuck Iverson with a wide array of big men, ranging from Derrick Coleman, Dikembe Mutombo, and Keith Van Horn to Matt Geiger, Jerald Honeycutt, and Efthimios Rentzias. Yet only now, with the Sixers leading the NBA in scoring (103.9 PPG), can they finally rejoice over landing an All-Star big man. Took long enough…

HATE: How is it that these guys can beat Indiana, Dallas, and the Clippers, then turnaround and lose to Charlotte (at home), New York, and Boston? Perhaps the same 103.9 PPG that they are giving up to their opponents has something to do with it? That’s what happens when you have Kyle Korver as your starting 3 and Samuel Dalembert on the pine for the first 3+ weeks of the season. But with Sammie returning to the court last week, I expect this Sixers defense to tighten up.

SLEEPER: Question, who would you rather have starting? A) a player who looks like he just jumped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog and whose only asset is a deadly 3-point shot, or B) a guy who averages the same amount of points, steals, and assists, shoots 10% higher from the field and gets to the free-throw line three more times per game than Player A (in 8 less minutes)? In other words, if you’re in a deeper league keep a close eye on G/F John Salmons, who played much of the 4th quarter in Boston last night (9+ mins) while Korver was filing down his cuticles.

2. NEW JERSEY (7-8)

The fact that they’re out-rebounding their opponents every night despite exhibiting one of the worst frontcourts in the entire league. The biggest reason why? Try Richard Jefferson, who is quietly averaging 9.3 RPG—tied for 18th in the NBA. That figure also happens to be just 1.8 less than the combined rebounding totals of Marc Jackson, Clifford Robinson, and Jason Collins. Hey Boston, here’s a team that could use Mark Blount…oh wait, he can’t rebound either.

HATE: Vince Carter. FG%, down; 3-pt FG%, down; Rebounding totals, down; Assist totals, way down; Steals, down; Personal fouls, up; Scoring, way down. If I had a portfolio filled only with pieces of Carter’s game this season I’d be sleeping on a park bench with a guy named Zeke and smelling like a 3-month old’s diaper.

SLEEPER: You should own no one on this team besides the Big 3. If you do, you’re either A) a first time player, B) an idiot, or C) a victim of another Shaquille O’Neal injury (you grabbed Krstic).

3. BOSTON (6-8)

The way they came out on Wednesday night and fought their ass off to get a win from the Sixers. Face it, Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis could easily put on their pouty faces and force Danny Ainge to unload some of this youth in order to start winning now. But thus far, both are playing like All-Stars and doing everything in their power to keep the C’s afloat in this dismal division. Eventually guys like LaFrentz and Blount (and possibly some of the young studs) will be moved, but whether it’s to give this team a boost for the Playoffs or to officially announce the youth movement is yet to be seen.

HATE: Doc Rivers. Okay, we all know that Al Jefferson can’t play a lick of defense but you’re telling me that by sitting on the sidelines and watching guys like LaFrentz (2 bum knees) and Blount (no working fingers) play D is going to make him any better? Look, you gave Kendrick Perkins a starting gig and he ripped down 19 boards on Wednesday night. So why isn’t Jefferson being given the same freedom? The frontcourt of the future is here Doc, let’s get them going.

SLEEPER: Good centers are obviously hard to come by, so if you have the room why not add Perkins? Anyone who can pull 19 rebounds is worth a shot.

4. NEW YORK (5-9)

The fact that Isiah hasn’t traded (yet) the expiring contracts of Penny Hardaway and Antonio Davis for Darius Miles, Ruben Patterson, and Theo Ratliff. A study at Harvard University has proven that this remains the only possible trade that could make the New York organization any worse. Honestly, am I the only one frightened to death that Isiah hasn’t budged since the season started? This is like Florida going without a hurricane for a whole summer. I’m preparing for the worst.

HATE: This list would be longer than a greedy 8 year-old’s letter to Santa, so I’ll keep it short. I hate the fact that they lead the league in turnovers (17.3), only score 91.8 PPG (24th), are one of the three teams shooting under 70% from the FT line, only give David Lee 12.2 minutes per game (despite owning the highest per 48-minute rebounding average, 18.1), and that 13 players are averaging double-digit minutes. You can try every combination possible Larry, but until Marbury goes you’re not going anywhere.

SLEEPER: Remember when Matt Barnes was a starter? Yeah, well since his last start on November 14th, he’s played a total of 4:31 in 7 games. In other words, trying to predict a sleeper on this team is like trying to determine who does more coke, Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton. If I had a gun to my head, I’d still say to watch out for SF Trevor Ariza.

5. TORONTO (1-15)

Ever get one of those shooting pains right above you eye that feels like someone just jabbed you with a Ginsu knife? Yeah, that’s what just happened to me while trying to find something I like about this team.

HATE: I’ll leave this incredibly long list to the Canadian Mike Lupica and just focus on a few things. First of all, give me one reason why Jalen Rose wasn’t moved last season when he resurrected his career by averaging 18.5 PPG. I realize his contract is astronomical, but isn’t that even more reason to get rid of him? You’re telling me that no one was interesting in dealing for a 18.5 PPG PG/SG/SF to bring off of their bench in the postseason even if it meant swallowing a big contract? Did Rob Babcock lose Mark Cuban’s number? What about Isiah’s? Second of all, Rafael Araujo. The league should have adopted a rule under the new CBA that allowed for teams to have one player killed every ten years. Who wouldn’t watch that SportsCenter? “Up next, Trey Wingo is live from NBA headquarters where Rafael Araujo, Mark Blount, Erick Dampier, Adonal Foyle, and Antoine Walker are preparing to be burned alive. Back after this…”

SLEEPER: Take your pick between: PG Jose Calderon (6.0 APG), F Charlie Villanueva (27 and 13 vs. Philly), or SF Joey Graham. Calderon is already starting and either of the latter two could/should be by the end of the week. Nothing would shock me with this team.


At 6:27 PM, Anonymous the sockk said...

If any Warrior is getting burned alive in a ritualistic mass murder, it is going to be Mike Dunleavy Jr.

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Haha, I just realized that Korver's next to an Asian Ronald McDonald

At 12:04 AM, Anonymous rev said...

Very good article, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the divisions.

Just one tip: you're good enough on your own as a writer -- you don't need to try to sound like Sports Guy's little helper! "Nothing would shock me with this team", for example, is one of his stock phrases.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

To tell you the God's honest truth Rev, I've never read a single article written by Simmons' intern. I saw he wrote a piece on Carmelo, but I usually have just enough time to read Bill, nevermind some college intern. So that phrase is not borrowed, but if you don't like it I'll delete it from the memory bank. Thanks for the kind words.


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