Monday, November 28, 2011

NBAPA/Owners Finally Agree to End Lockout

Well, they've already missed about a month of regular season action do to on-going discussions regarding the new CBA, but things finally took a turn for the best over the weekend. As soon as the new deal is ratified, which should happen any day now, the National Basketball Association will be back in business.

Now, don't expect to see free agents signing anywhere once the CBA has been ratified, as free agency wont start until December 9th. However, do expect teams and players to start discussions immediately, and deals to be unofficially announced even before that date. Speaking of free agency, this class isn't necessarily stocked with premium talent and has nowhere near the star power it did in summer 2010, but there are still a few nice players on this market that could come in and help a team like the Warriors. I've been thinking that the W's best chance to upgrade their roster would be via trade, but the one spot where the Warriors are weak happens to be the most stocked position on the free agent market, center. Andris Biedrins is currently the starter and is making over $10M this season, but has really had a rough couple of seasons since Barron Davis left the Bay Area. I'm not sure the Warriors are confident in starting the season with the thought of giving Biedrins huge minutes at center. They could deal him, or cut his work load way back, but it shouldn't keep them for exploring ways to improve themselves. The two guys I'd like to see them at least inquire about are Nene Hilario and Mark Gasol. Nene would bring the type of defense that Biedrins has failed at while Gasol would bring consistency, athleticism and scoring to the front-court. Nene is unrestricted, so would be an easier target, yet he's the consensus #1 free agent out there, so he could be tough to snag.

Now, as far as the details in the new Labor Agreement, I'm not going to go through each thing and ramble about it here, although here is a list of the changes to the new agreement. The only thing that jumped out at me when glancing over the new agreement is that the league will still be able to squeeze a 66-game schedule out of this by having teams play on back-to-back-to-back nights on numerous occasions throughout the season. Tip for Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, get your team in shape and keep youngsters for that bench because those 3 consecutive game nights will drain a team. Luckily for the Warriors, their average age in their starting lineup is 25, so it could be an advantage for them especially if Jackson has them running offensively. We don't know yet exactly when the tip-off for the regular season will be, as the new CBA has yet to be ratified, but NBA officials have stated they're shooting to be open before Christmas, which is their biggest non-playoff night of the year as far as television ratings. David Stern is way too greedy to let that cash cow slip by him, so I fully expect the NBA to be in regular season mode by the end of December. The real question is, how long is it going to take teams to start playing their brand of basketball after such a long layoff and virtually no training camp? Time will tell, but it's certainly great to have the NBA back... Fantasy Draft Time!Link

Monday, November 21, 2011

Charity Games Give Bay Area Quasi-Pro Basketball

Earlier this month, it was the "We Believe" charity game held in San Jose to the tune of 4,000 spectators. Sunday, it was the "Make-A-Wish" game, and although it didn't have as many Golden State Warriors in the mix, it was still another glimpse at professional basketball for NBA-starved Bay Area.

The We Believe game was actually very entertaining from what I hear, and according to the score board, lived up to it's hype. The current W's, led by Stephen Curry, Dorrell Wright and David Lee, barely squeaked by the "We Believe" generation led by Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Corey Maggette and Antawn Jamison, by the score of 158-153. Wright, the only Warrior to play in both charity games, led all scorers with 41 points vs. the former W's, while Curry chipped in a triple-double, 34 points/13 rebounds/12 assists. David Lee also stood out with 23 points and 16 rebounds. As for former Warriors, Gilbert Arenas looked pretty good in the video I saw, and ended with 26 points. The leader for the ex-Warriors though was Corey Maggette with 34, but the guy who was getting all the buzz after the game was Jason Richardson. Richardson will be a free agent when the NBA starts up again, and the Warriors, who haven't been the same team since they lost the physical 2-guard, could be in the mix. Right now, they are over-stocked with potential 2 guards though, after drafting Klay Thomposon with their top pick in June's draft. However, it's been no secret that they could be open to trading one of their guards, most likely Monta Ellis, for help in the front court. If that were to happen, I'd be all for adding J-Rich to split time with Thompson there.

There weren't as many Warriors for Drew Gooden's "Make-A-Wish" charity game this weekend, but Dorrell Wright was a starter for one of the teams and again excelled. I know it's just basically rec basketball, but Wright was one of my favorite players on the 2010-11 team and I really think this kid has a bright future ahead of him. For the first time in a while, the Warriors have themselves a true, legit young small forward who can really do it all. Another guy who came on strong at the end of 2011 and someone I would have liked to see compete in one of these games is Epke Udoh. The Warriors have really swung and missed on a lot of the picks they've used on forwards/centers and I'm hoping it ends with Udoh. He didn't shine in his rookie year, but showed that at the very least, he can be a serviceable backup center good for 20-30 minutes per night. All in all though, his rookie season was less than stellar, and it would have really helped this kid to have played in the summer league or play overseas until the lockout ends, just to get some experience. Speaking of underacheiving big men, I'm also a little surprised Biedrins didn't make it out to the We Believe game. He was/is a big part of both teams and certainly could have used the work.

As for lockout news, it really looked as if the players and owners were going to hammer something out earlier in November, but talks again fell through, and it appears we're no closer to an NBA season on November 21st than we were on August 21st. Now it's getting to the point where even if they did hit an agreement this week, We wouldn't see regular season basketball until the beggining of 2012. This has drawn on longer than I was expecting, and if it keeps up through Christmas, which is entirely possible, the threat of losing the entire year becomes the most likely scenario.