Ron Artest to the Rockets
At first glance, adding a former Defensive Player of the Year to the second best defensive team in the league appears to be a coup. But the Rockets still need a playmaker to distribute shots between Artest, McGrady, and Yao Ming. And how will Rick Adelman play two small forwards (Artest, Battier) in his starting lineup? John Hollinger thinks the Rockets will play Artest at power forward. That could work. At 250 pounds, Artest has the size to hold his position down low. But at 6-7, will he be able to alter shots or rebound from that position?
I’m not a proponent of teams adding to their strengths and ignoring their weaknesses. But the Rockets acquired Artest for practically nothing (Bobby Jackson, a first-round pick, and Donte Greene) and he’ll be a free agent after this season. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, they can trade him or let him walk. Even at full strength, T-Mac and Yao weren’t enough to challenge the Lakers, Hornets, or Spurs. Triumvirates win championships. With Artest, the Rockets have a trio that can compete with anyone.
Good riddance. Donaghy received a 15 month sentence for giving inside tips on NBA games. After Donaghy’s sentencing, his attorney proclaimed that “this story isn’t over.” I don’t know if Donaghy’s allegations of officials manipulating results to create more revenue is true or not. And I’ll admit that my opinion might be influenced by my hope that his allegations are false. As much as I’d like for this thing to be forgotten, I have a feeling that his attorney is right. The NBA has been anything but “transparent” through this process. I can’t wait for the Pedowitz Report.
Emeka Okafor-Luol Deng Sign Extensions
No matter what they say to the media, the Bobcats and Bulls didn’t want to pay Deng and Okafor $71 and $72 million over six-years. Contract extensions are all about market value. Fair or not, market value was established when Andrew Bogut signed for $12 million per season, Monta Ellis signed for $11 per season, and Andris Biedrins signed for $10 million a season. After Bogut, Ellis, and Biedrins signed their deals, Deng and Okafor’s agents had leverage over the Bulls and Bobcats. Okafor is better than Bogut and Biedrins, so he’s worth just as much or more than those players. Deng is better than Ellis, so Luol is worth more than Monta is. It’s as simple as that. Okay, maybe not that simple but it’s worth noting.
Paul Pierce Doesn’t Lack Confidence
Q: Is Kobe really the best player in the world?
Pierce: I don’t think Kobe is the best player. I’m the best player. There’s a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don’t cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself.
You’re right Paul, there is a “line” between confidence and delusion. And you’ve definitely crossed it. Pierce is a very good player. But he’s not even the best player at his position, LeBron James is. He’s not even the second best player at his position, Carmelo Anthony is.
The United States was impressive in their 120-65 victory over Canada. Dwyane Wade started in place of the injured LeBron James and joined Carmelo Anthony and Michael Redd to lead Team USA in scoring with 20 points. Because of James’ absence, Coach K played Chris Paul and Deron Williams alongside one another in the second unit. Which point guard will backup Jason Kidd when LeBron returns to action? I think Chris Paul is the better player, but I like Deron Williams for Team USA. Williams is bigger and better equiped to deal with the physicality of the international game. He’s also a better shooter.