|Iverson signs with Grizz||09.09.09 at 3:52 pm ET|
Allen Iverson is all a-twitter about signing with Memphis. This one isn’t really related Celtics-related (although I’m a little surprised the Celtics didn’t kick the tires on AI), but it’s an interesting development. And by interesting, I mean doomed to failure.
It’s been proven on two different occasions that not only has Iverson regressed as a player, but that teams are better off without him. Both Philly and Denver improved without Iverson on the roster and the fact that he was replaced by two steady point guards wasn’t lost on the rest of the NBA.
Still, if you’re like me, you think the NBA is a better place with Iverson in it, but why did it have to be Memphis? The feeling is that Memphis owner Michael Heisley thinks that Iverson can help fill the building with his star power. The problem with that line of thinking is that it’s been proven to be demonstrably false. Fans may come to see a visiting star player (and even that bump is rather negligible), but home fans have proven time and again that what they want to see is a winner, and it’s hard to see Iverson making a difference in the win column.
If the Grizzlies believe that their core group of players is Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo and Marc Gasol (a debatable point, but still) then adding Iverson not only doesn’t help them get better but it may also detract from their young players’ development. The same can be said of wayward power forward Zach Randolph who was acquired from the Clippers in the offseason.
At one time Iverson was the complete package in terms of being a star player and a cultural phenomenon, but those days are mostly over. It would have been nice to see if he could have convened a third act in which AI became a kind of elder statesman on a good team, but that wouldn’t have been really Iverson would it?
|Trags Take… A method to the madness||03.16.09 at 2:02 pm ET|
It is a scientific fact.
The middle of March has become the least productive time of year in corporate America. Even in these times of economic volatility and stress where’s there’s more pressure to produce, you can almost bet that every office has a pool of predictions as to who is going to advance in the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball championship.
And you can bet people are emailing, facebooking, texting and generally trash-talking each other’s teams, star players and of course, picks.
I might as well get in on the act. So here goes.
Five teams I love in this tournament:
1. Louisville. Rick Pitino knows what this time of year is about. His team was a machine at the Big East Tournament. They won 19 of 21 games this year in the best basketball conference in the country. Any questions?
2. Memphis. Yes they play in the Memphis Athletic Conference, also known as Conference USA, where they have won an amazing 61 straight games. Only Kentucky’s string of 64 versus SEC teams between 1945-50 is better. And they are on a 25-game winning streak. They ARE athletic enough to knock of No. 1 UConn in the West, if of course, they hit those pesky free throws.
3. North Carolina. Assuming Ty Lawson’s toe isn’t an issue, there’s ZERO reason to think he and Tyler Hansbrough won’t lead the Heels back to the Final Four in Detroit.
4. Villanova. These Wildcats are eight deep and it’s a quality eight. That is vital at tournament time because if one or two stars are off, someone needs to pick up the slack. As long as Scottie Reynolds doesn’t go 1-on-5 too often, they should advance to Boston.
5. Xavier. This team lost Josh Duncan, Drew Lavender and Stanley Burrell and everyone figured a step back was in order. All they did was reload with C.J. Anderson, B.J. Raymond and Derrick Brown. One of the most athletic teams in the tournament.
Five teams I wouldn’t bank on heading to the Motor City:
1. Syracuse. Great story. Seven overtimes. Two Big East Tourney wins, including a victory in arguably the most epic (certainly not greatest) college basketball game of all time. What does that get you? A No. 3 seed in the same South bracket as Oklahoma, North Carolina and Gonzaga and 15 sets of tired legs. Don’t be shocked if No. 14 Stephen F. Austin pulls the upset.
2. Wake Forest. Way too up-and-down from January on. Team looked like they were going to compete for a No. 1 seed and challenge UNC for ACC supremacy when they were ranked No. 1 early on. They lost at home to Virginia Tech when they were top-ranked and haven’t been the same since.
3. Boston College. They have been truly one of the fascinating stories of the college season. Al Skinner may not receive the national coach of the year but NO ONE did more to deserve it. He took a group that was picked to finish in the lower third of the ACC and rallied them to beat unbeaten and No. 1 North Carolina. Yes, we know who they lost to just days later but they also beat Duke and should have beaten them in the ACC tourney. But the fact is, they are bracketed with Michigan State, and Louisville in the Midwest, that is if they get by red-hot USC.
4. Duke. Why the hate for the ACC, Trags? Well, if you watched Duke lose at B.C. and you watched the game on Friday night at the Georgia Dome, you realize how flawed the Blue Devils are. If you don’t let Jon Scheyer kill you, you stand a really good chance of doing what VCU did in 2007.
5. Marquette. Sorry Doc Rivers. Another great early-season story. Then Dominic James broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Season over. Jerel McNeal is a fabulously talented player, who can score from anywhere on the court and led a ferocious comeback against Villanova in the Big East Tournament. But there aren’t enough big bodies who score to sustain him in this highly intense environment.
Trags Final Four Take:
Louisville over Memphis in one national semifinal.
Villanova over North Carolina in the other.
Trags Final Take:
Louisville over Villanova.
Also of note:
The US Basketball Writers of America announced their All-Americans on Monday:
DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, F, 6-7, 265, So., Pittsburgh, Pa.
Stephen Curry, Davidson, G, 6-3, 185, Jr., Charlotte, N.C.
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, F, 6-10, 251, So., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, F, 6-9, 250, Sr., Poplar Bluff, Mo.
James Harden, Arizona State, G, 6-5, 218, So., Los Angeles, Calif.
Sherron Collins, Kansas, G, 5-11, 200, Jr., Chicago, Ill.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, F, 6-8, 255, Jr., Schererville, Ind.
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky, G, 6-4, 208, Jr., Norcross, Ga.
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest, G, 6-2, 180, So., Indianapolis, Ind.
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut, C, 7-3, 263, Jr., Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania