Welcoming Some of the Best: Preseason Roundtable!

October 19, 2007


After a long time of chopping this thing together, I can finally say I’m proud to release to you, the readers, the best preseason roundtable out there. Why the best? Because it involves the best. I selected the panel based on bloggers who I’ve always enjoyed reading, and with their generous participation, we have a masterpiece! Below you’ll find everyone’s take on all thats on every basketball fan’s mind! Finally, I’d like to introduce the table:

The Blowtorch


Taking It To The Rack

Clutch 3 (myself of course!)

1) What’s you’re take on the Shawn Marion situation? Will he be traded? Where?


The Marion Situation has me more depressed than anything else. Outside of Nash, losing him is the worst possible thing that could happen to the Suns. And the only other place Matrix would work this well is Golden State. Just an unfortunate happening all around. I don’t see him getting traded right now since Amare is hurt for a minute. Hopefully he gets traded to the Jazz. Then the Suns get Kirilenko (which is PERFECT) and Marion realizes that he now plays 41 games in Utah.


My initial, general reaction to the Marion situation can be found here:
As for whether or not Marion will be traded, two factors lead me to believe that a Marion for Odom deal has a decent shot of happening: 1) the Suns want to reduce payroll and a Marion for Odom deal is permissible under league rules yet enables the Suns to reduce their payroll; 2) this deal is attractive to the Lakers as well because Marion is a better defender and rebounder than Odom, plus Marion is more durable.

Taking It To The Rack:

Check out my column “Shawn Marion: Loco” for my extended thoughts on Marion. He won’t be going anywhere this season though.

Clutch 3:

I personally think the guy is an idiot for wanting out of Phoenix. I’ve even written exactly on this topic on my blog, and as I was writing, I kept getting more and more fed up with his selfish wanting to be “The Guy”. He is a fantastic player that any team would love to have. I don’t really see Phoenix making any move ( a la Allen Iverson style), but rather wait for one that would give them something equivalent to Marion’s abilities. I don’t expect anything to go down until the trade deadline. At that point, I’m sure that’s when we’ll see the Kirilenko and Friends for Marion deal go through.

2) Who’s going to win the East? West? Championship?


As a Bulls fan, I have to pick the Bulls in the East. Thankfully, the Bulls really are good and don’t still have Dragan Tarlac and Fred Hoiberg getting consistent tick. I think they’ll make the jump this year. In the West, I’m going Spurs. Last time I checked, Duncan was still alive. With those two teams, I can’t see the Bulls taking 4 of 7 from the Spurs so I’m picking San Antonio.


Chic pick Boston is not deep enough to win the East. Detroit and Miami are both in decline. I’m torn between Cleveland and Chicago. Cleveland has the edge in playoff experience, plus the advantage of having a true superstar in LeBron James; Chicago has a deeper team and a gritty, defensive mindset. I’ll take Cleveland right now but I may change my mind by the time I post my season preview. I expect a San Antonio-Dallas showdown in the Western Finals; Dallas’ loss to Golden State was an aberration–which is not to say that Golden State did not play well: the point is that Dallas has won 60 and 67 games the past two seasons and I fully expect the Mavs to win around 60 games and make a deep playoff run this year just like they did in 2006. The Spurs and Mavs are very evenly matched but since the Mavs beat them in 2006 I’ll say that the Spurs will win the rematch–a year delayed–in 2008. The Suns, as usual, will be right in the mix but fall short in the playoffs. The dark horse is Houston: if T-Mac and Yao stay healthy and Scola quickly adapts to the NBA game then the Rockets can be very dangerous. New coach Rick Adelman will have that team passing and cutting people to death.

Taking It To The Rack:

I’ll be ridiculous and take my beloved Celts to top Dallas in the Finals.

Clutch 3:

Things are a little more interesting in the East this year. As much as the easy answer would be Boston, I just don’t see these guys winning the East final. I still see my boys, the Pistons coming through. They have some young talent that will hopefully explode out of the gates, which will finally give their bench enough depth to get back to the championship. As for the West, we can now count out Minni now that KG’s in the East (just kidding..obviously). But for real, I would hand it to the Suns. I’ve also been saying the Suns for the past two years and they have yet to break through. As long as Marion has a change of heart sometime soon, the Suns are my pick. Adding Grant Hill was a great addition for them, and with him and Barbosa coming off the bench, they’ll be the feared team this year. In the Pistons vs. Suns series, I give it to the Pistons, based on finals experience. It’ll be Mr. Sheed’s time to shine!

3) Who would be your number one pick in a fantasy draft?


Scarlett Johannson or LeBron James. Depending on what kind of fantasy draft it is.


I analyze real NBA games and players and pay very little attention to fantasy games. I suppose that one could not go wrong by picking LeBron number one in either a fantasy draft or a real draft.

Taking It To The Rack:

LeBron James — man can do it all.

Clutch 3:

Kobe! Kobe! Kobe! I’m not a huge LeBron guy when it comes to fantasy, and Kobe being pretty much the lone everything on the Lakers leads me to believe he’s, yet again, going to put up fantastic numbers. How can you argue with that?

4) Who is due for a breakout year?


Depends on what you consider a breakout. Here’s three thoughts-
All-Star raising his game: Zach Randolph
Dude making THE JUMP: Luol Deng
Coming out of nowhere: Amir Johnson


With Iverson gone, Iguodala will make a run at being an Eastern Conference All-Star. Look for him to average about 22 ppg, 7 rpg and 6 apg. He showed flashes of this kind of production down the stretch last year and I expect him to keep it up for the whole 2007-08 season. Daniel Gibson played very well for Cleveland in the playoffs and could easily double his modest regular season production (4.6 ppg).

Taking It To The Rack:

LaMarcus Aldridge is going to be incredible in Portland in his
sophomore season.

Clutch 3:

I’ll go again the grain here and say a guy like Corey Maggette will finally get the attention he deserves. I feel he’ll get the shots he needs to produce and will finally have the spotlight. On a smaller scale, I see Rajon Rondo having a somewhat breakout year. How can this guy not average at least 9 or 10 assists per game when he’s feeding The Big Three in Boston?

5) Which team will surprise everyone this year?


I’m jumping hard on the Grizzlies bandwagon. They’re this year’s Warriors. They’ll be the second best team to watch after the Suns. Plus their roster is hilarious: Darko, Pau, Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry, Stro Swift and Hakim Warrick (who are the same person), Navarro, Stoudemire is there somewhere, and Brian Cardinal. It’s like they combined every single rebuilding strategy in to one team.


I’m not sure what “everyone” is predicting, so this question could be answered a lot of different ways. With a healthy Gasol I expect Memphis to do much better this year. I suspect that Charlotte will be better than a lot of people may think.

Taking It To The Rack:

The Memphis Grizzlies will be at or above .500 and could make the playoffs.

Clutch 3:

Denver Nuggets! These guys a due to make some noise in the West. They went on a tear at the end of last season, showing AI and Melo might be able to work together. Both of those guys want a championship, and AI will definitely do whatever it takes. If K-Mart (when was the last time you heard that name?) and Marcus Camby can stay healthy, these guys will be trouble!

6) Who’s you’re early pick for MVP?


Kevin Garnett. He’s going to be insane this year. Playing for a title and playing in the East is going to make him seem even better.


Kobe Bryant. He’s been knocking on the door the past couple seasons and is already widely acknowledged to be the “best” player, a sentiment reinforced by his performance at both ends of the court in the FIBA Americas tournament. It is difficult to believe that he will go his entire career without winning at least one MVP. If the Lakers are a little healthier this year and do not fade down the stretch then they will amass enough wins for voters to feel comfortable selecting him.

Taking It To The Rack:

Hard not to like LeBron right now.

Clutch 3:

This question really made me think. It would be Kobe, except the entire team’s performance usually has something to do with the votes, so he’s clearly out of the question. With team performance in mind, I’ll give it to KG in Boston. The team’s record will inevitably turnaround and KG will be leading the pack. His scoring will probably stay the same, but his assists will forsure increase, producing an impressive stat line.

7) Name a basketball blog that you read, that some probably don’t know about. Blowtorch:

NBA Basketball and Other Unrelatedness aka thehypeguy.com. Howie is my boy. Not only is he hilarious and a huge source of inspiration, he gave me my first big link that got me started. Big up, Howie!


http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ (shameless plug). I don’t know if this counts as a “blog,” but I love http://www.remembertheaba.com/

Taking It To The Rack:

We Rite Goode — it’s not all basketball, but they have a lot there.
Lotta unique content.

Clutch 3:

I’d have to say Give Me The Rock is one that I frequently read and thoroughly enjoy, that maybe not everyone in the blogosphere knows about. Enjoy the plug!


8 Responses to “Welcoming Some of the Best: Preseason Roundtable!”

  1. Patrick Says:

    The plug is enjoyed! Thanks for the shoutout.

    By the way, I have to agree with you, Corey Maggette is in for a huge year. He’s going to be the man on the Clippers this year.

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  3. EG23 Says:

    Good mid- class read…

    but the real question is where my man KB8 is going…

  4. steve Says:

    Raymond Felton, Danny Granger, Devin Harris, Lamarcus Aldridge, Corey Maggette, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Rudy Gay, Andray Blatche, Chris Wilcox, Andrea Bargnani, Al Harrington, Al Jefferson, JJ Reddick, Al Horford, Ronnie Brewer, Nene, Okafor, Drew Gooden, David Lee, and Caron Butler will all have BIG/or breakout/or next level jump years,and steve francis, Shaq, Jermaine Oneal, Stephon Marbury, and Larry Hughes will have a comeback year bigtime. AND Iverson will finally “get it” and play unselfish pointguard style and make the Nuggets a serious contender.

  5. clutch3 Says:

    EG- you’re man KB is staying put for now. I don’t see that guy moving until the trade deadline. I can see this year’s deadline being a true blockbuster.
    Steve-I think you listed half the league. That’s too easy. The hard part is drawing one from each of your mini categories. Like I said in the post, I think Maggette is up for a big year/breakout. I can’t see Shaq having a comeback year, neither Steve Francis. In Houston, there’s too many guys that deserve minutes ahead of him, especially at the PG position. BUT, I’m with you about AI. I see the Nuggets going big this year!

  6. goathair Says:

    Will Iverson “get it” like the year he was MVP?

  7. clutch3 Says:

    AI will have a great year, but there’s no way it touch his MVP performances. He just won’t get as many touches or shots to put up comparable numbers. Unfortunately for all AI extremists, he has to share the ball with Melo and company, which puts a smile on all of us Nuggets fan’s faces!

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