Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Best Player Since MJ?

The quest for the next Michael Jordan is over.

Actually, the "quest" was over the night Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
Not enough proof? How about the time Kobe had four consecutive 50-points games last season? Not even Jordan did that.

Besides Kobe's Jordan-like athleticism, Kobe's superior skill makes him the world's best basketball talent. I'd liken his skill level to that of a prize fighter. He has multiple counters for every punch. Play him tight and he'll blow by you. Double team him and he'll split you with a powerful swing-through. Deny him the ball and he'll use his speed and strength to get open backdoor. He can do whatever he wants to do on the court whenever he wants to do it.

If his offensive skills are not convincing enough, his defensive abilities are almost unmatched amongst NBA wings. When Kobe wants to put the clamps on his man, his man is going to have to work awfully hard to score.

For the doubters, only a championship will validate his Jordanesque-talent. His post-Shaq squad looks poised to prove those doubters wrong.

Seriously, as you watch this year's playoffs, realize that you are watching history.

The quest for the next Kobe has begun.

Monday, May 19, 2008

This Blog and the Washington Post Part II: Roy Hibbert

This blog is back to its celebrity spotting ways!

This weekend, one of our contributors (Mr. Wall) spotted Roy Hibbert dining at Morton's in Georgetown. The future Wizards center (did I just write that?) was apparently enjoying a graduation dinner.

Here's the excerpt from the Washington Post's Reliable Source Column:

"HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?
Georgetown University senior Roy Hibbert at Morton's Steakhouse in Georgetown Saturday night. The 7-foot-2 basketball center -- likely to be snapped up in the first round of the NBA draft -- celebrated graduation weekend with another guy and two women; they ate steaks, lobster tail and chocolate cake."

Seeing as the Washington Post may have plagiarized this blog the last time I encountered a celebrity (Condi Rice, see link http://washingtonwizard.blogspot.com/2008/04/bring-on-pulitzer.html), I chose not to blog about the sighting until the paper arrived in the morning.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

LeBron (by himself) > Boston's Big Three

Cleveland will beat Boston. I figured I'd go on record before this series ended. As I've mentioned in prior posts, I believe that LeBron's presence on the court is equivalent to having three NBA All-Stars in the game at once.

Agree? Disagree?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Position-by-Position Review: Shooting Guard

With Gilbert out of the lineup this past season, the Wizards lacked scoring from their backcourt. DeShawn Stevenson filled his role admirably: showing improved accuracy on his three-point stroke and playing good defense. His toughness was essential to this team's success.

Nick Young has all the offensive tools you could ask for in a shooting guard: he can shoot from everywhere, he can break players down off the bounce, he can split double teams and he can even post-up. He must improve his defense and court awareness to reach his potential (which is a 20 point per game scorer). Adding 10-15 pounds of muscle will surely help his cause but Nick needs to find a DeShawn-like mean streak. Nick's goal should be to challenge for the starting two guard role.

Roger Mason won the Wizards a few games this year with his outside shooting (the Seattle game comes to mind) so his value should not be overlooked. Mason is an elite stand-still shooter and if the Wizards hope to make a deep run, his services will be needed. If Mason could breakdown defenders off the dribble, his value would sky-rocket (I think he can).

If the Wizards lose Mason, I think they need to get a veteran two-guard with the ability to get to the rim. Overall, the shooting guard position does not appear to be a position of great need.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Looking Ahead: The Gilbert Question

As much as I hate LeBron (who outside of Cleveland doesn't?), I must admit that he is an amazing talent. I honestly believe he is the equivalent of three NBA All-Stars (this theory will be tested against Boston).

Here is a must read about LeBron giving a ten dollar tip on an $800 meal: http://www.clevescene.com/2008-05-07/news/when-it-comes-to-tipping-lebron-goes-scrooge-mcduck

The Wizards will have some interesting decisions to make this off-season and I have answers (well sort of)! In this post, I'll focus on the Gilbert debate.

Question #1: Do you re-sign Gilbert Arenas and give him too much money?

-The Wizards have no choice but to re-sign him. If they don't re-sign Gilbert, they might be able to pull off a sign-and-trade and in a best-case scenario acquire a guy like Elton Brand (an aging injury-prone vet). Acquiring Elton Brand might help in the short term but is he really going to take the Wiz to another level? Absolutely Not.

-When the Wizards are healthy (which is rare) they are extremely dangerous offensively. With three elite scoring options, defenses can't double team the Zards.

-If you sign Gilbert, and presumably give him all your money, the team must improve internally. I have no doubt that Nick Young will eventually be a big upgrade at the two guard position. I don't know how much better Andray Blatche is going to get (I just sense he's missing something) so he might be good trade bait. The nucleus needs to get better now (sorry Dominic McGuire).

Bottom line: The are only about five true franchise players in the NBA: LeBron, Kobe, Duncan, KG, and Dwight Howard. Unless you have one of those players, you're probably not going to be winning an NBA championship anytime soon.

So rather than completely rebuild and hope to win the draft lottery when the next superstar emerges (for the record neither Beasley nor Rose is what I'd consider a superstar), why not stick with a good team that with the right additions might become a very good team.

Assuming Ernie Grunfeld knows what he's doing (and he does), Agent Zero will be a Wizard next year.