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Old 06-09-2002, 12:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
 

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Scrambled East

Interesting article from the Boston Globe. One noet in the article is as follows:


The one team right now that scares a lot of people is Chicago. The Bulls are likely to add Duke point guard Jay Williams to their already-intriguing mix. Said Wallace, ''We're all going to have a hard time dealing with them when their big guys blossom.''

Here is the link

http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/16...up_soon+.shtml

This is the article.

BASKETBALL NOTES
Scrambled East pictures won't clear up soon
By Peter May, 6/9/2002

We all understand a couple of truisms about the NBA Finals. One is that you can pretty much figure out the Western Conference representative from among a few teams, starting, of course, with the Lakers. The other is that you have no chance of picking one from the Eastern Conference, which is the way it was this year and the way it's going to be next year.

''How many teams are out there saying, `If the Nets can do it, why can't we?' A lot of teams are talking like that,'' said Nets president Rod Thorn.

The Celtics, for sure, were talking like that and figure to be speaking the same language next year, provided ownership doesn't boot it and plead luxury tax for not re-signing Rodney Rogers. (Guys, get over it. It's a one-year hit and you saved $22 million when Rick Pitino left.) Another conference semifinalist, Detroit, also figures it could have been sent to the slaughter, er, Finals and is planning on being a player next year as well.
''We should be there again, based on what we did this season. But there are 10-12 teams in the East right now who think they can be in the upper echelon next season,'' said Pistons basketball boss Joe Dumars. ''There are going to be that many teams who think they can win the conference. It's going to be wide open next year, again.''

Celtics general manager Chris Wallace acknowledged, ''It's tough to watch the Finals,'' after how close Boston came. How close? ''Close enough to start playing the what-if game. All I wanted was a Game 7 and I would have taken my chances with that.''

But he, too, knows as well as anyone that there will be another scrum next season, and it could be topsy-turvy all over again. If you factor in the eight playoff teams this year as automatic contenders, then add Milwaukee, Atlanta, New York, Washington (if it can re-sign the ever-valuable Popeye Jones), and Miami to the mix, you could have 13 teams with legitimate playoff aspirations.

''And no dominant team,'' Dumars added.
Pat Riley's Heat finished four games out of the playoff hunt. He took a break from his usual vacation to tell Bob Costas on HBO this past week, ''We're not that far away. I don't think anyone in the Eastern Conference thinks they are that far away. I'm not going to make excuses. The last two years have been a nightmare, an absolute nightmare. But we're not that far away.''
The Bucks have to get back in next year.
''How do you go from being a game away from the NBA Finals one year and not make it the next year?'' Thorn wondered. Join the club.

The Hawks played well over the second half of the year and could have a healthy Theo Ratliff back. The Knicks? They need a healthy Marcus Camby, which is, of course, a basketball oxymoron. The Wizards were in the thick of things when MJ was healthy and probably will hang around again, assuming he decides to play.
The one team right now that scares a lot of people is Chicago. The Bulls are likely to add Duke point guard Jay Williams to their already-intriguing mix. Said Wallace, ''We're all going to have a hard time dealing with them when their big guys blossom.''
So you're likely to have another free-for-all next season - for the right to be crushed in the Finals by the Lakers, Kings, Mavericks, or Spurs.

Riley used to say that as long as Michael Jordan was with Chicago, everyone else was playing for second place. That looks to be just as true now with Shaquille O'Neal in Los Angeles.
''He just distorts the game to such an extent because of his size and ability,'' Thorn said. ''As long as he is playing, the Lakers are going to be tough to beat.''

There may be hope for the East the year after next. Maybe Tim Duncan will come to Orlando. If not him, then perhaps Jermaine O'Neal or Michael Olowokandi. But maybe Duncan stays where he is and Jason Kidd joins him in San Antonio, further weakening the tepid East. And Shaq is already on record as saying he doesn't want to play for a coach other than Phil Jackson. (Hmm, where have we heard that before?)

Thorn is right. A lot of teams have to be watching the Finals and kicking themselves. He made the bold move last summer to get Kidd and, voila. Is there a similar deal out there this summer that could tip the balance of power? Not unless Duncan or Shaq decides to move East, and that isn't happening anytime soon.

Hot competition

You didn't expect that Larry Bird & Co. would waltz into Charlotte without some competition, did you? One of the limited partners of the Miami Heat, Robert Sturges, is trying to put together a group to establish an expansion club there. But two other names were being mentioned at the Chicago predraft camp that caused some eyebrows to be raised and jaws to drop: Jordan and Billy Cunningham. Jordan tried to get into the Charlotte picture a few years back, but owner George Shinn wouldn't give him the authority he wanted. He then hitched his wagon to the Wizards, but would not, we suspect, have any problem getting out of that arrangement. Cunningham was one of the original owners of the expansion Heat and walked away with a ton of money when they were sold. He and MJ both attended the University of North Carolina and probably would not have much trouble finding the real deep-pocketed guys that commissioner David Stern likes to see in ownership groups ... While many pined for Glory Days Revisited - hoping the Celtics somehow could find a way to play the Lakers in the NBA Finals - one of those who was miffed at the ''revival'' concept was Riley. He, of course, coached the Lakers during the 1980s, when they had three epic battles in the Finals with the Celtics. ''I think the era of the Celtics and the Lakers in the '80s can't even be compared to the Celtics and the Lakers in the '60s,'' he told Ira Winderman of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. ''And I don't think they should even get into it now. The one thing I've learned about change is that this league today is so unlike the league in the '80s. It just is. The nature of the players, the nature of the advertising, the marketing, the music, the approach of the players, the look of the players - everything is so different. The [hunger] of the player? I just think we're in a different stage.'' What he could have said is that, back then, you needed three Hall of Famers just to get to the Finals.

Alternate plans

USA Basketball has added Kansas's Nick Colleson as an alternate/practice guy for the World Championship team that will play this summer in Indianapolis. Duke's Williams is the other collegian/alternate on the squad, which features the Celtics' Paul Pierce among the 12 NBA members ... The Orlando Magic had Gonzaga guard Dan Dickau in for a workout, and according to one observer, Dickau hit 15 3-pointers in a one-minute drill similar to the All-Star Weekend's 3-Point Shot Contest ... Meanwhile, agent John Wolf, who is squiring high schooler Amare Stoudemire around for interviews and workouts (he's already turned down six teams, including the Clippers) predicts his client won't get past the Heat at No. 10 in the draft. ''I'll be floored if he does,'' Wolf said ... The Chicago predraft camp, which started a day late when O'Hare Airport was closed, was like abstract art: beauty was in the eye of the beholder. The Celtics, who are hoarding the 50th pick, basically saw their guy there, although they aren't clear whom it will be. ''That's our neighborhood,'' Wallace said. ''Either that or Turkmenistan.'' The Celtics cabal saw some serviceable wing players, guys like Ryan Humphrey of Notre Dame and Lonnie Baxter of Maryland. None of the top 20 or so players showed up for the games, although they get measured and weighed. (The unresolved issue is whether Duke's Mike Dunleavy will keep his name in the draft. Dad Dunleavy was seen mingling in Chicago with the movers and shakers.) Dumars left Chicago a day early. Asked if he saw any diamonds in the rough, he said, ''I saw a whole lot of rough and not any diamonds. Nobody really stood out. After a few days, it was more than enough.'' One new twist this year, courtesy of that enlightened group, the NCAA, will hurt players who show up and then decide to stay in college. If a player participates in the predraft camp and then returns to college, he will be ineligible for the same number of games in school. In other words, if he plays three games in Chicago, he'll have to miss three games in college.

N ow or then

Stern continues to downplay any potential problems with Chinese center Yao Ming coming to the NBA. ''It's not as big a deal as it seems,'' he said. ''Either we will sign him or we won't. If we don't, he'll be like Arvydas Sabonis. But he'll be here eventually. It's either now or later.'' The Rockets are sending a delegation to Shanghai to meet with officials from Yao's Chinese team. Houston has the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft ... Former Miami assistant Marc Iavaroni is heading to Phoenix to be lead assistant to Suns coach Frank Johnson... Sacramento coach Rick Adelman is still seething over the officiating in Game 6 of the Western finals and is vowing to send a tape to the league. Two thoughts. Yes, you guys got hosed. Even some officials will, under threat of subpoena, agree with you. And get over it. You make your free throws in Game 7, it's not an issue. Chris Webber and Mike Bibby were guests on the ''Tonight Show'' Friday night. When Jay Leno asked Webber a question, Webber deferred to Bibby for the answer. After the show, Webber flew to Memphis to attend the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight ... If Adelman wants a sympathetic ear, he can always call Dumars, who was there when the Pistons lost to the Celtics twice (1985, 1987) before breaking through in 1988. He was there when Bird stole Isiah Thomas's pass and when Vinnie Johnson and Adrian Dantley cracked heads. ''It's called the heartbreak of the playoffs,'' Dumars said. ''It's absolutely gut-wrenching when you lose like that. They'll live with that all summer until next season.'' Maybe it's part of the painful growth process, a process that both the Pistons (against Boston) and the Bulls (against Detroit) had to endure before winning it all. ''That's the way it usually is,'' said Dumars. ''The dominant team breaks the heart of the up-and-coming team. We did it to Chicago. Boston did it to us.'' And the Lakers have now done it to the Kings the last three seasons ... With the selection of Sixers coach Larry Brown to the Basketball Hall of Fame, that means Philly guard Aaron McKie played for a Hall of Famer in college ( John Chaney at Temple) and in the pros. ''Not too many people have that opportunity to even say they played for one Hall of Fame coach,'' McKie said. ''It's definitely something that I feel special about, being able to learn from two great men on and off the court. I have learned so much from those guys, and I am continuing to learn. They will be friends and will be in my life throughout the rest of my life and my career.'' Even Brown irritant Allen Iverson offered his congratulations in a statement distributed by the team: ''With all that Coach Brown has given to the game, there could not have been anyone chosen that would be more deserving of this honor. I feel fortunate to have been able to play for him and see first-hand the knowledge and dedication he has brought to the game of basketball.'' Except, of course, at practice.

Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.
This story ran on page D4 of the Boston Globe on 6/9/2002.
Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Old 06-09-2002, 12:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They're getting scared already........
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Old 06-09-2002, 12:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you look at my sig, you'll know what they are getting scared of. lol.
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Crawford
J-Will(hopefully)
Rose
Hassell
E-Rob
Chandler
Curry


How can you not love this team...?
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, if you look at like a Bulls Hater:

Curry and Chandler are the Twin Toddlers. ERob is just another injury plagued SF, Jay Williams will lead the league in turnovers and couldn't hit a free shot if his life depended on it, Jalen Rose is a misfit, Trenton Hassell shouldn't of gotten drafted, and Marcus Fizer is just Elton Brand's ball boy. Jamal Crawford is the worst Michigan player ever, Dail Bagaric is the worst player in the L.

Now, if you look at it in typical Bulls Fan way:

Curry and Chandler can be great players, ERob just needs a jumper to become a star, Jay Williams is a very experienced PG who will give us a lot of wins, Jalen Rose is a great floor leader, Trenton Hassell will be a solid backup, Marcus Fizer is still developing his game, eventual starter. Jamal Crawford is a 6'5 multiple postion guard with game, and well I gotta agree about Dali.
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That first one is from BCH's point of view....
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I never knew that BCH dude very well. I can tell you one thing, they won't be the Twin Toddlers, they're the next Twin Towers!
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well if Curry is Shaq and Tyson is Duncan/Garnett, then we will be the next dynasty for sure....
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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They both started to come on strong at the end of last year. Chandler had a great game against, well, NY. I don't think he had to much competition to contend with...
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Kurt Thomas...?
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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lol. That's about it, unless you consider Felton Spencer a superstar.
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I would take Dalibor over Felton Spencer. That guy is just awful.

The Knicks have had some bad centers over the last few years:

Felton Spencer
Chris Dudley
Travis Knight
Luc Longley

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Old 06-09-2002, 01:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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No offense, but they were all caucasian also. lol, white men can't jump.
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Old 06-09-2002, 02:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
 

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For the record, Spencer is a brother, he just plays like a big, white stiff!
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Old 06-09-2002, 02:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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lol!! I totally agree, BullsNews.
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