In 1989, the Seattle Supersonics drafted Shawn Kemp 17th overall, and in 1990, they drafted Gary Payton 2nd overall. They would go on to form a WILDLY popular tandem on the court, going on to behave in a manner that would have one thinking they had INVENTED the alley-oop. I specifically remember one from my freshman year in high school where Payton stopped at half court and heaved the ball toward the backboard while Kemp swooped off the wing toward the baseline and jumped…
What happened next was none short of amazing, as he had to chase the ball to near the top of the backboard, catch it with one hand and THEN dunk it down. 14 year-old me was stunned and LOVED it. I would not miss another televised Sonics’ game that season. Yes, that would go on to include their becoming the first 1-seed to lose to an 8th-seeded Denver Nuggets team in that years playoffs as well.
After much bullying, some questionable language and an overall badly handled set of transactions, some moves have been made in the league to unite one of the best point guards with the league’s most athletic power forward (with a resume including some impressive dunks). I am claiming now that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the 2012 “Glove” and “Reign Man,” as Payton and Kemp were respectively known as at the time.
Put a pin in that one, I will come back to it.
Dallas also made some moves to replace the 5 pieces that IT lost as well, adding Vince Carter, Andy Rautins, bringing in Lamar Odom via trade and Delonte West. I laughed as my friends who are fans of the Mavericks speak of a repeat as if it will be easy, with the addition of Lamar Odom and Vince Carter.
In Vince, you get someone who is over the hill, never been accused of playing defense and from whom the ball rarely returns when it goes to him.
While a rematch of last year’s Finals is wholly possible given the comparative talent in the Western Conference this year showing a shift in power back to the east for a while, I am not too sure the outcome would be the same with these pieces in place.
… anyone else LOVE how little press the Miami Heat are getting this year? I know I do because I am not a fan of that “King” fellow, but I am SURE they are as well, because they lived and eventually died in that fishbowl last year. LeBron James MVP this year, 30/8/7 averages if he plays small forward, 25/10/10 if he plays point guard.
Now, back to Chris Paul and that deal… The Clippers showed off how badly run they have been for the past 32 years by first telling the NBA as owners of the Hornets that they would spend their 5 travelers cheques at a competing resort instead of giving up top-10-shooting-guard talent in Eric Gordon. I applauded them for that, it suggested that they were doing the right things for a change. Then they gave up Eric Gordon ANYWAY after creating a logjam at the point guard spot in what I can only assume was them shoring up the trade bait to make a respectable bench mob. At current, the Cripples (should I still be calling them that about now?) look to start Paul with Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. That is two rookies of the year and a Finals MVP in Paul/Griffin and Billups, respectively. As a starting lineup with young pieces to provide backup, this team just went from what I had already claimed as a 7 or 8-seed, to 5th in the Western Conference or better. They gave too much, though. Bledsoe should have gone, and combining him with that unprotected (meaning that even if Minnesota wins the draft lottery, they can’t keep it) draft pick and Chris Kaman should have been PLENTY enough young and future talent to secure the trade, but the league was so greedy that they wanted to be sure that whatever team partnered in the trade gave some of the talent that would otherwise keep them competitive.
For that, I stand behind EVERY pixel of my “Many Faces of David Stern” post.
With the Orlando Magic now claiming to have taken Dwight Howard off the trade market and with the Chris Paul situation now finalized, I can finally get on to an analysis of the whole of the league, especially with preseason games slated to happen next week.