6/5/12

7 Dayz of NBAz

Hey guys! James asked me to take over this feature a couple of weeks ago, and I jumped at the opportunity to share what I believe are the most important stories in the NBA every week. 7DoN will be moved to Mondays, and will offer a variety of informative and humorous stories. Feel free to let me know if I left anything off in the comments. I do this for y'all.

Draft Lottery Results
I'm not sure that anyone expected the Raptors to move into the top 3, but I think that all of us were optimistic. The Charlotte Bobcats desperately needed a franchise player like Anthony Davis and I was fairly certain they'd get him with the first overall pick. However, the lottery balls awarded Davis to the New Orleans Hornets. If you'd have asked me before the lottery whom I'd have liked to see the first overall pick go to, my list would have been as follows: Charlotte, Toronto, New Orleans. Why the Hornets? During a year when any team not in the playoff hunt elected to tank, the Hornets continued to try to win every game. They lost Chris Paul early in the season, and while most teams would surely have called it a year and waited for the lottery balls in May, the Hornets competed and maintained a sense of pride and obligation. Their core is young and promising, and they have a couple of veterans that could be moved with relative ease to speed up their rebuilding process. Anthony Davis only accelerates that even more.

The Raptors stayed at 8, which was a blessing given the chances that another team move ahead of them. Colangelo has sounded adamant about trading the pick for another asset (despite the fact that he won't admit to it), and regardless of whether or not he does, he'll surely make the right decision for this franchise. There are some players that may be at 8 that the Raptors should look at, but my personal feeling is that trading the pick is the correct decision. I would not be surprised to see Colangelo package the pick with a couple of young players like Ed Davis and James Johnson to go after a proven wing like Danny Granger or Andre Iguodala. The right move? Maybe not. But if the Raptors do secure a player of that caliber, the playoffs are definitely within reach and the next few years look bright.

Two Tight Series
I don't think anyone expected the Heat to struggle against the Celtics. The Celtics were old, hurt, and barely squeezed past the Philadelphia 76ers. In all honesty, I expected a near sweep by the Heat, but the incredible play of Rondo and Kevin Garnett has allowed the Celtics to exploit their advantages over the Heat's embarrassing front court. However, Chris Bosh may return as soon as tonight, and that may shift the balance of this series dramatically to allow the Heat to close this series in two games.

The Spurs were on an unprecedented 20-game winning streak before OKC won three straight games against them. The series sits at 3-2, signalling a change of generations in the NBA. The Spurs, through the regular season and playoffs, were the epitome of a steady, cohesive team. They dominated in the regular season despite resting key players on a regular basis. On the other hand, the Thunder were an up-and-down team in the regular season that showed glimpses of their preponderance. For them to succeed, it seemed, at least two of their big 3 needed to have fantastic games, despite their depth at all positions.

It's difficult to predict how either of these series will finish, but both should be outstanding and warrant your undivided attention. If you want to know what it takes to be elite in the NBA, watch these teams play.

The Dwightmare Continues
About a week ago, the Orlando Magic fired their coach and general manager. Stan Van Gundy had been rumoured to be in the hot seat since the infamous video of a Magic practice. Most people were certain that Van Gundy was gone, despite being on the best coaches in the NBA today. Otis Smith, however, came as somewhat of a surprise. While he undoubtedly mismanaged the team and did a poor job of handling the Dwight Howard situation, he was generally liked by the organization and players. Regardless, SVG and Smith are gone and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that Howard probably had something to do with their firings.

The Magic have stated that they're going to be very patient with their new hirings, and with a great crop of coaches available and the new wave of younger GMs that value advanced statistics, the Magic should come out of this offseason just fine.

Neil Oshley
This caught everyone by surprise. Just days after the Clippers announced that they were negotiating with Oshley to keep him around, the Portland Trailblazers stunned everyone by prying him away. Paul Allen, the Blazers' outspoken owner, had interviewed Oshley in Europe and was smitten with him.

While the Clippers are penny-pinchers that simply cannot manage a team, the Trailblazers are a respected organization with a passionate owner. Sure, Allen has a history of sacking GMs before they could accomplish anything, but this looks to be a terrific fit for both parties. The Clippers will likely settle for someone cheap and short term, as Donald Sterling does not like to invest in his team.

Oshley is a great pick-up for the Blazers, and considering how heavily Allen recruited him, I imagine he`ll be around for quite some time.

Rajon Rondo: Shooter, Philosopher, Judge
Rondo has always been an enigma. He's very good at some things, really bad at others, has a mouth on him and doesn't really like anyone. However, Rondo has a knack for showing us that we don't know him. We think he can't shoot? He has a massive scoring game. We think his triple doubles don't mean anything? He shows you what a 15-15-15 game is. Rondo is difficult to understand, but that's just the way I like him.

Rondo is averaging 24 points, 10.5 assists, and 7 rebounds per game against the Heat. On 54% shooting. No one understands this. Rondo is single-handedly giving the Celtics a chance against the Heat every game. But that's not all. Rondo likes to talk.

Rondo is a journalist's dream. If you push the right button, you'll be gifted a plethora of meaty quotes with little censorship. Rondo has called the Heat whiners, criers, complainers, soft, predictable, and overrated all within one week. It's clear he doesn't like them.

He's a polarizing figure, but Rondo has solidified himself as an elite point guard during the playoffs. You may not like him, but you have to respect his game. Because if you don't, he might just trash talk you.

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