Monday, April 28, 2008

The Monday (Draft) Musings

Thoughts and comments from an uneducated Canadian who just wasn't that fired up for the draft this year...

* While I think your Minnesota Vikings overpaid in trade for Chefs DE Jared Allen, giving up their first rounder (17 overall) and two thirds, they did get a 26 year old impact pass rusher in his prime. It's a big risk, also considering that every player in the past five years who led the league in sacks had less the following year, but in this "win-now" culture we're in, getting Allen on the field will make them much better for 2008 than any of the three picks they gave up would have made them. And I could care less about how much they're paying him. NFL contracts are fairy tales, absolute shams. They're basically year-to-year, and while he's getting a bunch of money guaranteed, Minnesota can still get out of it if needed down the road. I like that Ziggy is willing to pay big to help them win.

* Hated the 2nd round pick of safety Tyrell Johnson of Arkansas State at first. Safety? This is the biggest need on the team? With GLARING holes at WR and QB, and needing depth and perhaps a starter on the OL, they take a SAFETY? Jer talked me off the ledge, saying it was a solid pick in a spot where they'll need to replace Darren Sharper soon. I then read today that SI's Peter King loved the pick, saying Johnson was the draft's best safety and should have gone in the first round. So good value there I guess. But my draft man-crush, Texas WR Limas Sweed, was still on the board, and I still think would have been a better pick.

* On the other hand, I LOVE the JD Booty pick in the 5th round. Love it. He's the opposite of T-Jack, which I think is great. While Jackson is all arm and athleticism and untapped potential, Booty is accurate, poised, and ready-made for the West Coast Offense. It's not that I want Jackson to fail- I don't- but Booty is the perfect guy to bring in behind him if he fails.

* Not that I know anything about anything, but I know next to nothing about the Vikes late round picks. However, from everything I've heard and read Florida State defensive tackle Letroy Guion, Notre Dame center John Sullivan and Jackson State receiver Jaymar Johnson were all good late round gambles, especially Sullivan, who was the top rated center entering the season, but his stock slipped because Notre Dame sucked. Could be Birk's replacement down the line.

* Can we stop worrying about the egos of current players and how they're going to handle their teams drafting of players in the top rounds at their position? I'm sorry, is this the NFL, or Jerry Springer? If your team drafts a kid in the first or second round at your position, instead of whining and crying about it to the media like NY Jets TE Chris Baker (to which you're probably saying "who?" My thoughts exactly), why not FIGHT FOR YOUR FREAKING JOB?!?!? It's not just Baker, and seems to happen every year. Get over yourself.

It's especially true of quarterbacks, and I'm becoming more and more convinced that if you've got a young QB who's not performing, draft one high to light a fire under his ass. Worked in San Diego when Drew Brees was awful for his first three seasons. The Chargers then took Phil Rivers fourth, and Brees suddenly got it and turned into a Pro Bowl player (of course the Charge made the wrong choice and should have kept Brees but that's not the point). Last year, Cleveland had a glut of underwhelming QB options, so they gave up a king's ransom to nab Notre Dame starlet Brady Quinn. What happens? Derek Anderson, a 6th round pick on his second team, morphs into a Pro Bowl QB. So to those who were "shocked" at the Packers taking Louisville pivot Brian Brohm in the second round because they're worried about the mental and emotional stability of Aaron Rodgers I say to you: shut the front door. Brohm, who would have been a top 10 pick last year had he come out as a junior, returned to school, performed well, but his team stunk so therefore his stock dropped. So the Pack took a wise gamble on a guy (can't call him a kid. He and Matt Ryan both look like they're at least 30. They make Greg Oden look young) who could very well end up being the best QB of this draft, and sooner rather than later. If it fires up Aaron Rodgers and turns him into a Pro Bowl QB, then having a promising understudy in Brohm is either great insurance or great trade bait, but a nice problem to have. If Rodgers wilts, then now you know he was never The Guy and Brohm has a chance to step in. Apparently this makes way too much sense to some people.

* Other than that, I just wasn't real fired up for this draft. No superstars, no big names, especially at the top, and with the Vikes having no first rounder, it made it harder for me to be excited. Will say, for what it's worth, I liked the Fins taking Michigan OT Jake Long #1 overall. Tackles are always the safest bet high in a draft. Yes, there's always the possibility of a Tony Mandarich, but the flameout rate with O tackles is much, much, MUCH lower than any other position. And in a draft where there was no clear cut top player, it made even more sense.

* Finally, I'm not going to link to it because it's Insider content, but's Scouts Inc. guys analyzed all the picks, and I was just floored but how negative they were about EVERYBODY. Seriously, every analysis started with what said player COULDN'T do. He's not fast enough, he's not fluid, he's not explosive, he doesn't throw the deep ball well. And then towards the end would be the "However..." and they'd mention that hey maybe he's not the worst player to ever be drafted. Maybe. Maybe it's me, but if I'm evaluating players for a team, I want to tell my boss what guys CAN do. Look at the f'ing coaches tape and tell me what the guy CAN do. Who the hell goes into an interview and assesses what they CAN'T do?!?!? This is my biggest peeve about the whole draft process is players get poked and prodded and overanalyzed so much that when draft day comes all we can talk about is what they're not. They take the prototypical player for the position (who doesn't exist) and then downgrade from there. Why not look at a player's body of work ON THE FREAKING FIELD (don't even get me started about the combine. What a complete waste of time that is) and go with what he did well and from that decide if he can help you or not? I also love when they say "well he didn't play against very good competition." Really genius? IT"S COLLEGE FOOTBALL! It's all he had to go up against. What's going to be a better barometer of how good a guy's going to be? His college football career, or how he does at the combine running wind sprints and lifting weights? Drives me freaking nuts!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Amsterdam

As I flip between the Suns/Spurs (I hate San Antonio. But damn they're still good) and Flames/Sharks, I came across this article from one of the two Vancouver dailies, and just had to share. Last Sunday, as you probably know, was April 20th, or International 4/20 day. It's a day where potheads worldwide get together and do what they do every other day: smoke pot. Here in BC it's supposed to be illegal to smoke pot, especially in the middle of downtown Vancouver. As the article there states, over 10,000 people held a "4/20 Rally" where they all smoked dope in public, surrounded by police. Guess how many people were arrested? Zero.

Vancouver police Const. Tim Fanning said officers attended the rally to ensure public safety.

"I don't think anybody in this city would think it would be reasonable to go in and arrest 6,000 to 12,000 people who are smoking pot," the (police) spokesman said.

Asked if police inaction against pot-law protesters meant people are free to smoke pot in public in Vancouver, (Vancouver police Const. Tim) Fanning said police enforce the law when drug use occurs around schools and playgrounds, causes disorder or interferes with other people's lawful enjoyment of public or private spaces.

These guys would love Vancouver.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Monday Musings...On a Sunday

* Yes I'm starting The Musings with hockey. NHL Playoff Hockey. In the past, I've told anyone and everyone that was not a hockey fan to watch the playoffs. Just one game. Just one third period of a close game, and you would see the greatness of hockey. Watching the first round series so far, I have realized the problem with this thinking. It's not that the hockey hasn't been great so far (well unless you're a Wild fan: sorry about that). In fact, just about every series has been compelling and well played. The Caps/Flyers tilts have been my favorite so far, as two of the leagues youngest teams have squared off in as entertaining a series as I've seen in years. The pace has been VERY fast, with a lot of odd man rushes, and there's been hits galore. It seems like every time a guy has a puck and gets rid of it in his own end, he gets creamed into the boards. It's been the perfect blend of speed, agility and physicality that the game can be at its peak. If you can't watch this series and be enthralled with the game, you should hang your head in shame.

So what's the problem? The 80 freaking regular season games that come before the playoffs, that's what! I love the GAME of hockey, but cannot be bothered to watch regular season games. And keep in mind I live in one of the top two or three most NHL hockey-crazed markets in the world (For the record, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are the top 3. It's not that The Wild aren't supported well or Minnesotans don't love their team, it's just that the Wild are WAY down the pecking order for sports in the Twin Cities. The Canucks, Canadiens and the f$&*ing Maple Leafs are not just front page of the sports, their front page news anytime all the time). The Canucks themselves are an awfully boring team to watch, but it's not just them: the pace of regular season games compared to the playoffs is night and day difference. It's slower, clogged, and almost TOO physical (too much clutching and grabbing). The playoffs are a brand new Mustang while the regular season is like an 82 Chevy Suburban with an engine that's spewing oil out the exhaust.

The thing that bothers me is I don't have a clue how to fix it. While changing the rules (bigger nets, smaller goalie equipment, larger rinks?) could make the regular season better, we are clearly seeing that when teams, coaches and players are motivated to play the game the right way, that it CAN be played the right way with the current rules. So I don't get it. I guess I'll recommend that if you want to see some awesome hockey, watch the playoffs: but then don't turn a hockey game back on until next April.

* The NBA playoffs are already a day old, but there's my quick "day old preview":
I really want a Lakers/Celtics finals. I do. This would be awesome. While I think the Celtics have a REALLY good chance of getting there (John HOllinger, who I definitely have a man-crush on for his vast NBA knowledge as well as he concrete and rational way of using stats to back up his opinions, says the Celtics are way better than people think, and will cruise to the Finals. I hope he's right), I'm more worried about the LAkers. It's not that they're not good, but how amazing is it that their first round opponent, Denver, won 50 FREAKING GAMES?!?!? While it would be an upset if the Lakers lost, there's no way you could call it monumental when LA only won seven more games than Denver. I think everybody but Houston and Denver have a legit shot at getting to the Finals. After watching San Antonio survive Phoenix in double OT yesterday, I have a bad feeling the Spurs aren't quite done yet, and the Suns might be. Too quick to jump to conclusions? Maybe. But watching that game yesterday, the Spurs always had someone to take and make the big shots, whereas the Suns had trouble getting easy baskets down the stretch. They just don't have one guy who own his man and score at will. That will be a factor.
Anyway, here's my picks/hopes:
LA over Denver in 5
Utah over Houston in 5
San Antonio over Phoenix in 6
New Orleans over Dallas in 5

LA beats Utah in 7
San Antonio beats New Orleans in 6

LA over San Antonio in 7

Honestly, does anybody care what happens out there, just as long as the Celtics win the conference? Didn't think so.
Celts over Hawks in 4,
Cavs over Wiz in 6
Pistons over 76ers in 4
Magic over Raptors in 5

Celts beat Cavs in 5 (the refs- I MEAN- Lebron steals at least one game)
Pistons beat Magic in 7 (Dwight Howard becomes a household name)

Celts over Pistons in 5

Celts beat Lakers in 6

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Monday Musings

A few thoughts before Memphis takes Kansas out behind the woodshed tonight...

* Hey let's all make a big deal about Tigers freshman guard Derrick Rose, who SHOULD be the #1 pick in this June's NBA draft, missing a media session because of a stomach ache caused by eating too many gummy worms and candy. I don't know about you, but I ALWAYS ate healthy foods when I was 19, and still do to this day...or wait, no I ate horrible amounts of horrible food at horrible hours when I was 19. And 20. And get the idea. He's a college freshman, away from home for the first time, and away from mom's cooking for the first time. If the worst thing he does this season is eat too much junk food, I'd feel pretty good about if I were any NBA team with the first pick this June. Of course too much will be made of this, as well as the "fact" you just "can't" take a point guard not named Magic Johnson with the first pick. Yes I'm going to beat this to death until June's draft, and yes you're probably going to get sick of it.

* Speaking of June's draft, the NBA is going to have to come up with a new way to prevent teams from tanking to improve their draft position, because for a second straight year, at least one team is openly tanking. Last year it was the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies, whose starters magically came down with mysterious ailments that sidelined them for the last month of the season, forcing the teams to play their bench and pull people out of the stands to fill out the roster. This year it's the Miami Heat, who first shelved Dwyane Wade for the year, and now its forward Shawn Marion who's done for the season with a foot ailment of some sort. A really severe case of athlete's foot, or maybe one of those bad blisters you get from a pair of new shoes? Anyway, there's no way Marion, who over the past five years has been a real iron man by averaging 80 games a year, can play through this one. So their two best players are "out" and since beating the hapless Bucks (who aren't tanking, but are just this terrible) March 24th, the Heat have lost seven straight, six by double digits. If A-hole Stern is serious about the integrity of his league- well other than allowing a carpet-bagging redneck friend to steal a basketball team from the good people of Seattle who have supported the league for 41 years- then he's going to have to come up with something else besides the draft lottery to stop teams from tanking games. Not that I have any sympathy for the mostly bandwagon fans of Miami who live by the beach in gorgeous weather every day, but wouldn't you be a little ticked if you were paying good money to watch a team who didn't try? The Wolves are bad but at least they're trying right? Anyway, this is going longer than I planned and is an argument for another day. One thing I AM interested in is the following: the Grizz and Celts ended up with the worst possible picks they could have last year. I want to see if the Heat, who appear to be the only team openly tanking this season, end up having the same thing happen to them on ping-pong-ball-day. I mean of course it would just be, you know, coincidence because David Stern would never rig a draft to prove a point...or give the Knicks Patrick Ewing...or Michael Jordan the first pick when he was in Washington while giving the Bulls the worst possible pick they could have gotten...all just coincidence. Anyway, something to ponder.

* Don't look now but some baseball fans are in a PANIC!!!!!!! after one, count them, ONE week of baseball. ONE. Nothing like an extremely small sample size here people. Yup, the Orioles (this will not continue long) and Royals (this could- not like "World Series contender" could, but "definitely hang around .500 and make a run at the wild card" kind of could) are tops in the AL while the Florida Marlins (fiesty) and the St. Louis Cardinals (never underestimate the power of Tony LaRussa's tinted glasses. They are a baseball power unto itself, full of reverance, power, and strang wonders! Wait where was I?) lead the NL. Ben Broussard and something called Xavier Nady lead the league in homers while AJ Pierzynski (who's more annoying? AJ or Hawk Harrelson? Wait this is like the would you rather question when it's "would you rather_________ or watch the WNBA?" It's always the WNBA just as it's always Hawk Harrelson! No broadcaster is worse! Noone is more annoying! Nobody is more of a homer! Nobody makes me want to stab my eye out with a pen more! Fine, you know what? I'm throwing it down right here, right now: would you rather listen to a game called by Hawk Harrelson, or watch a WNBA game?" You have to choose one. And if you choose option c, which is "I'd rather burn in hell", just remember that under that option that while said burning is occurring, you also have to watch a WNBA game called by Hawk Harrelson. So whatever you do, don't choose c) and Jason Kendall lead their respective leagues in batting average. People, it's the first week of the season. Calm the $%&* down! This happens every year. Give it a month or two before you start heading for the ledge- well unless you're a fan of Minnesota, Seattle, San Fran or Houston, in which case, start thinking about football season.

* Or the NHL playoffs!! That's right, if you're one of the seven lucky homes in the United States that have access to some cable channel called Versus, then starting Wednesday night you too can enjoy the thrills and excitement that is Stanley Cup playoff action!! Ok seriously the NHL playoffs are always great, and the overtime games are some of the best in sports. That should be fun. I will spare you my rant on the Canucks missing the playoffs (long story short: they over-achieved last year, and this year's finish is much more indicative of their true talent level. They're not very good. They're goalie's the best in the league, their D is solid, and their forwards might be the worst in the league. Also they're boring as hell to watch. Trade the Sedins NOW before you have to pay $6 million a year each to be 2nd line players who disappear in the playoffs- just like most European forwards, and invest in good North American players who actually grow up dreaming of winning the Stanley Cup. Just a thought), and despite them not being in it, there's still plenty of intrigue. Well actually for me just with two teams: the Caps and Pens. Alex Ovechkin is the exception to the "Euros never show up in the playoffs" rule and is the best player in the league right now. If starting a franchise, he's my #1 choice. I would love, love, LOVE to see a Pens/Caps 2nd round series. It's about all I'm hoping for other than some good overall playoff hockey.

* If you're sincerely interested about the NHL playoffs, and want to listen to some guys who actually know what they're talking about, go on I-Tunes and search "Coast to Coast NHL Hockey" for the Coast to Coast NHL Hockey podcast. They're 6 guys I went to BCIT with who do a great job, really know their stuff, and they get good hockey media people from across Canada on the show. Check it out.

OK done with hockey talk, I promise. Enjoy the National Final tonight. Let's hope Kansas can make a game of it.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Final Four Musings: Memphis 78 UCLA 63

Well my final of UCLA/North Carolina is going down in flames as we speak. Memphis dominated the Bruins earlier, and now Kansas is taking it to a level beyond domination as they're up 31-10 on Carolina midway through the first half. Some thoughts on the second half of the first game (I was looking for apartments during the first half).

* I had only seen Memphis play once before the Tourney, in their only loss of the season to Tennessee. In that game, while the Tigers certainly looked athletic and plenty talented, they didn't look any better than Tennessee, and ended up losing because of their free throw shooting. My thinking heading into the tourney was that yes, the Tigers are freakishly athletic and pretty damn talented, but they would eventually run into someone else who was just as good, and then Memphis dismal free throw shooting would do them in. Well after five tourney games, it hasn't happened yet. At this point I'm wondering how many NBA teams would give this group a run.

With 7:32 left in the first half, Billy Packer has just declared the Kansas/Carolina game over. 38-10 Rock Chalk Jayhawks. Kinda hard to argue with Billy right now.

During the first weekend of the tourney, I saw an interview with Memphis coach John Calipari, and of course they asked his team's free throw shooting. His answer? That when the time came, they'd shoot it well. He believed his kids had good form, and when the time came, they'd get it done. I laughed out loud when I heard that, wondering how a coach who had accomplished as much could be so naive. If your kids can't shoot free throws all year, why in the hell would they just suddenly get better? And if they could, wouldn't this mean they weren't trying all year? No matter how you looked at it, this looked like a dumb statement.

Of course, now I'm the one looking dumb. Memphis shot 20-23 from the stripe today, good for 87%. I guess Coach Cal knows his team a little better than I do. I still don't like what that says that his kids CAN shoot free throws well and don't all year, but considering they're in the title game Monday night and are definitely the team to beat, I guess it doesn't matter much, does it?

* UCLA is a damn good basketball team, and well deserving of their seed and their spot in the Final Four: but they got outworked and outplayed badly today. Memphis was AT LEAST 15 points better today, at least in the second half. Defensively they could not contain Derrick Rose or Chris Douglas-Roberts, and they could not get a rebound. Didn't it seem like Memphis was getting second, third and fourth opportunities on offense? It also seemed like Memphis was getting a lot of easy baskets, or were at least getting to the rim much more often than the Bruins.

When the Bruins got on offense, they had to work really, REALLY hard just to get a shot off, and it always seemed like they had to settle for outside jumpers. Not only that, but watching the highlights after the game, whenever UCLA put up an outside jumper, there were ALWAYS three or four white shirts under the basket, while Love was usually the only blue shirt anywhere near the bucket. For the game Memphis outrebounded UCLA 42-35, and only 14-12 on the offensive glass, but I'd love to see the second half numbers, because it looked much more lopsided than that.

* After hearing the hype all season about the freshman Rose, I just hadn't seen what all the fuss was about. Well I'm a believer after today's game. He finished with 25 points, nine boards (four offensive), four assists and was 11-12 from the free throw line. And maybe most impressive: In 37 minutes, while playing at a furious pace, he had just one turnover, which wasn't even his fault. The turnover he was given was the gorgeous lob pass to Joey Dorsey with five minutes left in the second half. He couldn't have run up and PLACED the ball at a better position around the rim and yet Dorsey, who seems to have decent hands, just plain dropped it on the way up. Anyway, if Rose doesn't go #1 overall in the NBA draft in June, the team who passes on him better have a damn good reason. And it better be more than "well nobody ever takes a point guard number one overall." This is the same thinking that dropped Chris Paul to fifth while Andrew Bogut and Marvin Williams went first and second overall. Rose will make someone look very foolish if they pass on him too.

* Chris Douglas-Roberts has one ugly game. He looks like he should be playing in an over-40 men's league at the Y. How many dirty, greasy, old-man moves did he have in that ball game? How many ugly shots did he hoist up at odd angles that found their way in? And yet at the end of the game, he finishes with a game-high 28 points. And what's more, as a first team All-American, he's been doing this all year. He'll probably go late in the first round or sometime in the second, getting passed over for guys with more "upside" but he could be a a crafty scorer of the bench for a good team.

* I know Joey Dorsey's only offensive move is dunking (and that's when he actually catches the lob passes), but I'd take him on my team anytime. 15 boards (six offensive), two blocks, a steal, and zero turnovers? At 6-9 and 265 pounds, he'll also get passed over on most draft boards for guy with more "upside" but could he, or could he not, develop into another Ben Wallace?

* Who's going to be a bigger bust: that stupid Speed Racer movie they've shown 9,457 commercials for, or Bruins guard Darren Collison? Collison, who's been trying to prove he's an NBA point guard, finished with two points, four boards, four assists and two steals, but also had five turnovers and fouled out. He couldn't get a decent shot off all day, and what's worse, he couldn't find any for his teammates either. And defensively, Rose, Douglas-Roberts, and Antonio Anderson absolutely owned him. Whichever guy he picked up, they'd make sure to take advantage. You can stick a fork in Collison's pro prospects after today's game.

Well Carolina is trying to make a game of it, but still down a ways 44-27 at the half, they've got a long way to go to prevent a Kansas/Memphis final. We shall see.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

NBA Odds & Ends

Biggest news today is that the Knicks have hired Indiana Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh to try and fix the colossal mess that Isiah Thomas has made of the League's Most Important Franchise. Besides getting one the NBA's best GM's (yes the Pacers suck right now, but before the Brawl at the Palace the Pacers might have been the league's best team, and I seem to remember the team being pretty damn good in the Reggie Miller/Rik Smits Era in the 1990's), according to the story "the Knicks yielded to Walsh's wishes on several key terms regarding authority and autonomy" that they had not given to past GM's like Isiah. While owner Jimmy Dolan, who like Glen Taylor in Minnesota should be held as responsible for his team's disaster as the man he lets run the team, will still probably be far too involved, at least relenting some control to Walsh shows he realizes there's a problem here, and he's going about a different way to fix it than just giving Isiah extensions and expecting different results.

Much has been made already about whether Isiah will stay on as coach, and you know what? It's completely irrelevant. I'm sure Knick fans would like to be rid of Isiah as a way of cleansing the franchise of five years of awful, but NBA head coaches have the least effect on their team's outcome of any professional sport. While they can make minor differences, they're basically glorified baby sitters. I've been saying it for as long as Jer and I have had this website, but the inmates run the asylum in the NBA. If you have good players and leaders, you're going to win a lot. That coach might make the difference in a few key moments, but overall it's about the players on the floor.

So whether Isiah stays or goes as coach is irrelevant: the only thing that matters is that a) he's never allowed to make a personel decision again, and b) Walsh can give them enough cap room in the summer of 2010 to make a run at Lebron, DWade, or Chris Bosh. That's it. Do those two things and they'll be fine. Not that clearing that cap space will be easy, but it can be done. According to hoopshype for the 2010-2011 season the Knicks currently have $27.5 million in guaranteed money committed to Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford, and have team or qualifying offers totaling $7.75 million available to Renaldo Balkman (keep him), Wilson Chandler (nope), and Mardy Collins (ditto). So that's roughly $36 million against a possible $55 million cap number. That right there is pretty nice, but there's two big issues to add to it: David Lee (who I'd keep) and Nate Robinson (who I wouldn't) will be free agents the summer before, so decisions will have to be made on both. The other much bigger issue is two underachieving players with gigantic player options for the summer of 2010 who would be stupid not to exercise them: Eddy Curry ($17.333 million! MILLION!) and Jared Jeffries ($6.9 MILLION!!!). So those guys would obviously push the Knicks right back into Luxury Tax land if they're still on the roster. So Walsh's big job will be trying to get rid of those two and/or Randolph and/or Crawford or all of the above. Good luck to Walsh, but at least the Knicks finally have the right guy to do it.


While the sky was falling for the rest of the province as they were watching the Canucks blow their playoff hopes against the Colorado Avalanche, I was watching the Nuggets improve theirs against the Suns. If you're at all interested in pro hoops, the Western Conference playoffs have to make you giddy. It's going to be ridiculously good. However, I STILL believe the league needs to grow some cahones, and seed the playoffs 1-16 regardless of conference. Some of the arguments against this include "people like it the way it is" (if by "people" you mean owners of crappy Eastern Conference teams that have no business being in the playoffs but will get in because there's only three good teams out there), we want to build rivalries (this doesn't make sense to anyone), "look how exciting the Western Conference will be!" (while true it would be even MORE exciting if the nine teams in the west who will win 50 games would all get in), or "This just makes far too much sense." (Ok that's really an argument against it, but I haven't heard a good one to dispel this myself).

A-Hole Stern claims that the league is cyclical, and that when the Jordan Bulls dominated in the 90's the East had better teams. One, I checked wikipedia and this is simply not true. While the Bulls were obviously superior to everyone, the West, in most years of that decade, still had more good teams. And since Jordan's retirement, which was full on 10 YEARS AGO, the West has dominated. It hasn't been close. And if you look at the current rosters, it's not changing anytime soon.

My question to you is: which would you prefer? Under the current system, Dallas, Denver or Golden State will miss the playoffs despite winning 50 games, which by the way, would put them possibly as high as THIRD and no worse than FOURTH in the East (not to mention Portland, who at 2 games above .500 right now could be as high as fifth seed in the East!). Or, if we dared to get crazy and take a chance-take a chance-take a chance-chance we could seed it the following way (we'll give the top team in each conference the top 2 seeds):

1. Boston (59-15) vs. 16. Toronto (38-36)
2. New Orleans (51-22) vs. 15. Washington (38-36)
3. Detroit (53-21) vs. 14. Portland (38-36)
4. San Antonio (52-23) vs. 13. Cleveland (41-33)
5. LA Lakers (50-24) vs. 12. Golden State (45-29)
6. Phoenix (50-25) vs. 11. Denver (46-29)
7. Houston (49-25) vs. 10. Dallas (46-28)
8. Utah (49-26) vs. 9. Orlando (47-28)

Any questions? You're telling me there's not plenty of excitement and intrigue with those matchups? Maybe it's just me, but I just happen to be a big fan of the 16 best teams making the playoffs. Call me crazy.