NBA General

2007 NBA Draft: The Northwest Division gets a serious facelift

The future is now for the NBA’s stars of tomorrow.

Wow! It’s been a long time since the NBA has seen that much action in one night; we’re talking about Wilt Chamberlain on a Saturday night type of action here. The night got kicked off when David Stern spoke those magical words that every kid grows up dreaming about:

With the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trailblazers select Greg Oden from Ohio State University.

Okay, so scratch the Portland Trailblazers part out because no kid is ever going to dream about going there, but other than that it’s a shooting star’s wish come true. That, of course, was followed by the easiest pick in the history of draft picks as Seattle scooped up the scraps left by Portland and selected Kevin Durant with the second overall pick. And by scraps, we mean the most polished freshman ever! But that was all pretty common sense stuff for the most part after rumors starting spreading on Thursday that the Blazers were committed to Oden. The real fun started after the no-brainers were off the board.

Seattle continued to change the Sonics guard and promptly shipped off Ray Allen and the rights to Big Baby Glen Davis to Boston for the fifth pick which turned out to be Jeff Green, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. We’re guessing that Paul Pierce would rather have Kevin Garnett on his team, but Allen will make a nice compliment to Pierce. And in the East, there’s no telling who’s going to be making the postseason anymore.

Then there’s the evolving Portland squad that kicked the troublesome Zach Randolph out the door as soon as Oden’s name was read. And of course, Isiah Thomas was the sucker that took on the talented but troubled semi star. But we have to commend Zeke for finally getting rid of Steve Francis who has been nothing but a pain for the team since arriving. The Blazers also sent Dan Dickau and Fred Jones in the deal and New York shipped Channing Frye along with Francis. Now, Portland has a fierce front court with Oden joining a hopefully healthy LaMarcus Aldridge.

Then there are the Bobcats who are desperate to get their hands on an All-Star caliber player and ended up trading off their eighth pick in Brandan Wright for Jason Richardson. Charlotte also picked up Golden State’s second-round pick Jermareo Davidson. Warriors fans are probably pissed that they got rid of a huge part of their recent only playoff success, but it was a great move financially as Richardson is owed $51 million over the last four seasons on his contract.

But even after all that; the real thing that we’re going to remember this draft for is the gosh awful outfit that Joakim Noah wore to the big show. We’re sure Chicago must be so proud.

The rest of the results from the 2007 NBA Draft, broken down by team, can be found after the jump.

Denver Nuggets

Melo continues the trend of disrespect between athletes and fans

Don’t let the nice smile
fool ya.

When did being a professional athlete become so stressful and difficult that a common response to their fans has become one of bitterness and violence? We’re not too sure when the exact point in time was, but it has become obvious that a disrespect of fans is now quite common.

The most recent example of this involves Carmelo Anthony’s hoodlum buddy who punched one of Melo’s fans after he asked for an autograph in front of a Denver 7-11 last month. Sure, the guy was totally out of line to get pissed because of the denial but when you’re the face of a franchise there are some things that players just have to let roll of their backs. First off, Anthony has to expect that people are going to walk up to him and ask for a picture or autograph if he’s just walking down the street. Is it really too hard to just take five seconds out of your freaking day to oblige the fan. He’ll probably rush out and buy your jersey and poster if you do.

But it’s not just Melo. Other basketball players like Zach Randolph have been flipping the bird to the crowd at rival stadiums and even an NBA referee was busted giving the one finger salute to an arena full of fans. Michael Vick showed Atlanta fans his personal interpretation of the “dirty bird” last season after being booed for a piss poor performance. Pitchers Randy Johnson and Kenny Rogers both attacked members of the media when they didn’t want to bothered. And soccer fans and players seem to have a mutual disrespect issue of their own.

Part of the job description when it comes to making a living as a professional athlete involves the ability to take criticism. Whether from the fans or the media, the majority of today’s athletes are simply not equipped with the people skills necessary to handle the pressures that come along with being permanently forced into the spotlight. Either that or there are just a lot of jerks who happen to be gifted in sports.


[]: Friend of Nugget Anthony ticketed in fight with fan
[]: Carmelo: Witness to crime?

NBA General

Around the Rim: Memphis wins again?!

1. The Grizz are rollin’!
For the first time all season, the Grizzlies have finally won two games in a row after they knocked off the Lakers on Tuesday and then the Trailblazers last night. Pau Gasol has been playing some excellent ball lately but it took an entire team effort to overcome Zach Randolph and his 43 point, 17 rebound performance. What’s even better fot Memphis is that they actually have a shot at extending this win streak. Tonight they will to Seattle to play a banged up Sonics squad before receiving a pretty tough test Golden State on Sunday. The Warriors sit just one game out of the playoff picture, so they should ready to put away the Gizz if they truly want to make a post season appearance.

2. Total eclipse of the Suns

It’s not very often that the Suns are the team getting run up and down the court by their opponents, but that was exactly what happened last night as the Warriors gave Phoenix a taste of their own medicine. Golden State opened the game by scoring 45 points in the first quarter before finishing the first half with a whopping 77 points and a 14 point advantage. The Suns struggled to fill the hoop with as much frequency as their opponents until the fourth quarter when they managed to outscore the Warriors 18 points but that was only good enough to get them within five points at the final buzzer. The Suns have been slipping in the standings lately, thanks to a 6-4 record over their last 10 games, and now they are just two games ahead of the Spurs for second place in the West. Next Thursday the two teams will get together for what should be a barn burner in San Antonio.

3. Chicago showdown
With a two point victory over the Pistons last night, Chicago was able to clinch a post season spot. Ben Wallace had a big game against his old team and helped to reverse a trend that has been plaguing the Bulls since Michael Jordan retired. Since 1998, the Pistons have owned the Bulls inside of the house that Jordan built, also known as the United Center, to the tune of winning 15 of their last 18 in the building. Now, Big Ben knows what it is like to be on both winning sides of the rivalry, but he almost didn’t get the chance to enjoy it. With under three minutes remaining in the game, Ben Gordon went to the line and missed three consecutive free throws which left the door open for the Pistons to take over. But Gordon lucked out and these two could just be warming up for a seven game series in the playoffs.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Zach Randolph vs. Memphis 40 min, 43 pts (FG: 16-26, FT: 11-16), 17 reb, 5 ast, 2 blk

Friday’s Game to Watch: Utah (47-24) @ San Antonio (51-20) The Spurs almost dropped an easy game against the Hornets on Wednesday, but they had a late rally and won their fifth game in a row to pull within 2 ½ games of Phoenix for the number two spot in the Western Conference playoff picture. But they are going to have to play for a full 48 minutes against the Jazz if they expect to pick up a victory. Utah has already wrapped up their division title and they have won four of their last five games thanks to Carlos Boozer who has been putting up some of his best games of the season of late. There are so many great individual match-ups when these two teams get together, hopefully we can see these two hook it up at some point in the post season.

Buzzer Beater: In October, the Cavaliers and the Magic will be meeting up for a pair of preseason contests on a neutral court in China. Talk about a road trip! Good thing there are a lot of youngsters on these squads who can recover from jetlag in a jiffy. Dwight Howard and his boys will be playing an additional game against the Chinese national team in between the other contests. But this should be becoming routine for the NBA starved nation, after all, David Stern did send their native son Yao Ming along with the Rockets to play against the Kings back in 2004. And next year the United States will send an outfit of the NBA’s best and brightest talent to Beijing for the Olympics. They did qualify for the Olympics, didn’t they?