Monday, June 30, 2008

RIP Tiger Stadium

By Rick Morris

One of America's finest ballparks -- nay, finest overall landmarks -- is biting the dust tonight, another shameful development in a world that only values the brand new. The demolition of Tiger Stadium is now underway and the people of the Detroit area are being sold a bill of goods about how the destruction of this proud, historic structure will benefit the greater good in terms of redevelopment.

A look at the history of the region and the deterioration of the Motor City into a Third World economy should tell us all that the tales spun to sell this great lie should never have been given any credence. Now, I fully admit to being a mark for classic ballparks, and for that matter, old-school stadiums and arenas of all types -- but my own biases aside, this is a sad day for anyone who was ever invested in this great park in any way. I never made it to a game at Tiger Stadium, but, notwithstanding the fact that I have also never been a Tigers fan, I listened to countless games broadcast from there via the dulcet tones of Ernie Harwell on AM 750 across the Great Lakes. I wish that the efforts of the local preservationists had been given a chance and that the park could have been refashioned somehow as a living piece of history. Instead, the corrupt local politicians have torn down one of the only institutions worth saving in that once-great American city.

RIP Tiger Stadium.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

MLB power rankings for end of June

By Rick Morris

Here’s a current assessment of where the teams in Major League Baseball sit at the moment, along with a notation of how many spots they are up or down since our last installment on May 29:

TOP TIER (legitimate playoff contenders)

1. Boston (+2)

2. Chicago Cubs (+4)

3. L.A. Angels (-1)

4. Arizona (-3)

5. Tampa Bay (EVEN)

6. Chicago White Sox (+2)

7. Philadelphia (EVEN)

8. New York Yankees (+7)

9. Minnesota (+5)

10. St. Louis (EVEN)

11. Milwaukee (+9)

12. Oakland (-3)

SECOND TIER (teams on the fringe of contention at best)
13. Florida (-9)

14. Detroit (+5)

15. L.A. Dodgers (+2)

16. Atlanta (-3)

17. New York Mets (-1)

18. Texas (+4)

19. Cleveland (-1)

20. Kansas City (+6)

21. Baltimore (EVEN)

THIRD TIER (teams who are out of it)

22. Toronto (-11)

23. Cincinnati (EVEN)

24. Houston (-12)

25. Pittsburgh (-1)

FOURTH TIER (the worst of the worst)

26. Colorado (-1)

27. San Diego (+2)

28. San Francisco (+2)

29. Washington (-1)

30. Seattle (-3)

Night of Champions Liveblogging Part VII

By Rick Morris

It's main event time as John Cena and Triple Haitch (in the fine words of the man's man, Mr. Regal) square off for the WWE Title. Lots of power moves early and fairly little finesse, much as you'd expect. This isn't going to be Misterio-Guerrero Halloween Havoc '97, people.

As you'd expect, the majority of the crowd seems to be on the side of Paul errrr Hunter. Neither man is staying on offense for very long. Both times Cena went to hit You Can't See Me, he played to a largely booing crowd and Hunter ended up back on offense. HHH got flipped over the top rope and appeared to land awkwardly with his leg against the ring steps. Cena started working the leg relentlessly. Well, however belatedly, the match at least has some flow to it now. Cena kept working the leg, only to have HHH hit a Pedigree but not cover him swiftly. Cena hit the FU but could not get the three-count. Apparently they are using old-school All Japan booking where several finishers will be needed.

Dueling chants ensued as the two pummeled each other -- this is now a very hot crowd. Cena took the advantage on HHH and hit the Five-Knuckle Shuffle after You Can't See Me. HHH went for the Pedigree shortly thereafter only to be reversed into the STFU. After a long while, HHH got to the ropes only to be pulled back to mid-ring. HHH then put Cena into the, yes, the Crossface. Cena got to his feet to put HHH into the FU, only to get reversed into the Pedrigree. 1-2-3 and HHH retains the title and, presumably, takes it to Smackdown. HHH is still selling the knee, so Mike Ptak is speculating a held-up title that will be filled on Raw. What happens? Tune in tomorrow night. Well, I won't necessarily, I'll be watching the Cleveland Gladiators Arena Football playoff game, but I guess the idea is for all of you to tune in!

BELFI - Night of Champions - Cena vs. Triple H

By Paul Belfi

Obviously Cena HAS to win this match... we'll see what happens. It is 10:16 as I write this. I will update following the match. BTW, since I haven't blasted Ptak in a while, let me see he's a bald-headed bastard who was last seen at a Wal Mart getting $10 for an autograph.

Oh hay-ell NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


10:33 -- I am digging the 'physicality' of this match so far... solid 'power work' by Cena and Trips. Both are selling well.


10:41 -- A FANTASTIC match and I am STUNNED (well, not really) that Trips won... but it was a great match and - overall - a very fun PPV this evening.

Looking forward to RAW tomorrow night.

Night of Champions Liveblogging Part VI

By Rick Morris

The Edge vs. Batista match for the World Title was decent, but fairly stale in light of their past matches and the fact that these two don't have the best in-ring chemistry (not JBL-Batista bad or Booker-Batista bad, but not great). Each hit some high-impact moves before the predictable screwjob sequence at the end with Edge's entire posse getting involved -- including Vickie getting out of the wheelchair to break up a three-count only to be pitched from the ring onto all of her compatriots! The interference allows Edge to waffle Batista with the belt leading to the pinfall. Afterwards, the announcers resumed the "Owen voice" to talk about the tragedy of Batista leaving Smackdown in such a manner. It wasn't even "it was what it was."

BELFI - Night of Champions - Edge vs. Batista

By Paul Belfi

Sorry I missed the women's match -- I heard it was excellent. I had to take a phone call.

Anyway... as I write this, I am calling for a Batista loss. Edge HAS to keep his title on SMACKDOWN and Cena has to WIN so there is a major title on the top 2 brands.

So there it is... it is 9:47pm Eastern now and the world's longest ring entrance isn't over yet. Oy.

OK, the match ended and as I predicted, Batista had to lose. But the crowd got what they wanted-- seeing Vicki get thrown from the ring.

Props to Vicki for going through with that -- she is a LEGIT heat magnet -- good for her. Personally, I am glad she has established her own identity in the company of being a TRUE heel GM vs. Eddie's widow. Good for her.

Night of Champions Liveblogging Part V

By Rick Morris

Mickie James defends the Women's Title against Katie Lea. If it makes me a piggish male, so be it, but this is surely the finest clash of pulchritude ever seen in a women's title match.

I can't believe I'm saying this, because these are usually the bathroom break matches, but this was an excellent match with lots of good offense (probably because these women were actually trained as workers instead of being lingerie models who couldn't wrestle their way out of a paper bag). Both ladies worked hard to deliver what might have been the best WWE women's match of the year (damning with faint praise, I know). Mickie hits the Deep Implant Silicone DDT for the pinfall.

Night of Champions Liveblogging Part IV

By Rick Morris

JBL cuts a promo up in his luxury box getting cheap heat on the economic woes of Texas and the American people .... then Y2J cuts a lengthy promo in ring about how he is defying the people BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Finally, Kofi Kingston makes the surprise appearance to challenge Jericho. A very good match ensues, with plenty of good offense on both sides. Kingston got some very believable near-falls on Jericho before Jericho got the Walls of Jericho locked on. Shawn Michaels comes out of the crowd, Lance Cade is waiting for him, but eats Sweet Chin Music. Michaels jumps up on the apron, only to be knocked off by Jericho, only to have Kingston give Jericho his Jumping Kick to the Grill once he turns around. 1-2-3, new I-C champion, and now maybe the move of Kingston to Raw makes a bit more sense. Afterwards, Jericho punches Michaels in the eye, leading to much rolling around and writhing by HBK on the floor.

Edge then gives a pep talk to his crew backstage about how he is going to dominate Batista ... this should be called the Night of Endless Droning Promos.

BELFI - Night of Champions - Jericho vs. ???

By Paul Belfi

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME JBL promo prior to this match - JBL is a great heel. VIVA MAMAJUANA!!!!

Jericho steps into the ring and starts to cut a promo - we all wait to hear who the 'surprise opponent' is going to be. I love Jericho as a heel. His promos are special - and are textbook.

KOFI KINGSTON is the mystery opponent - I like it!

So far... this is an excellent match and Jericho is making Kofi look good - as he should.


MATCH OF THE NIGHT so far!!!!!

Night of Champions Liveblogging Part III

By Rick Morris

Kane defends the ECW Title in a three-way "Monster Match" against Big Show and Mark Henry. For a superheavyweight slugfest, it was not a horrible match. Decent offense back and forth -- and it ended with Kane suplexing Big Show off the top rope only to end up getting splashed by Henry for the three-count and the title.

In the next match, Cody Rhodes and Hardcore Holly came out for their World Tag Team Title match against Ted Dibiase and his mystery partner. The mystery partner did not show and Dibiase started the match alone against Rhodes -- before Dibiase demanded that Holly tag in ... are you seeing where this was going? Good, because so was Helen Keller by this point. Rhodes ambushes his partner, Dibiase comes in and puts Holly in the Million Dollar Dream into a Russian legsweep (pretty cool sequence, actually) and gets the win. Rhodes and Dibiase are the new champions.

BELFI - Night of Champions - Holly/Rhodes vs. DiBiase/???

By Paul Belfi

DiBiase is selling that his partner is running late, so the match starts out as a 2-on-1 with an immediate swerve as Cody Rhodes turns heel and nails a sweet looking DDT on Hardcore Holly.

DiBiase drops two moves on Holly and he (along with Cody Rhodes) are your new world tag team champs.

This was fast, but effective. Stevie Wonder saw it coming a mile away but who cares? I liked it.

BTW - I hit the throne during the ECW championship match - Nessie has arrived.


BELFI - Night of Champions - Mark Henry vs. Big Show vs. Kane

By Paul Belfi

So far I am having a splendid time at Harpo's 'reporting' on the PPV. *cough*

This live blogging thing is aiight. Now then, on to our next match...

This match hugs the root so far... but man, Big Show is in tremendous shape. Good for him. You can tell he's working at it.

BTW... is it bad that I am too lazy to get up during this match and take a dump? I am about to leave Nessie in some poor toilet.

Mark Henry (aka the 'self-proclaimed' Silver Back -- 'monkey want a nana?') is an ugly human being. Seriously. I am shocked Mae Young opened her legs for him all those years ago.

And... he just won the ECW heavyweight championship of the world. What a step up the ladder of success.


Night of Champions Liveblogging Part II

By Rick Morris

Matt Hardy and Chavo Guerrero had a pretty good technical match for the U.S. Title. As he did during the first match when he was invoking old-time stuff just to show off, Jim Ross spit out a bunch of pablum about how Hardy's U.S. Title had the lineage of Bobo Brazil, Roddy Piper, etc.

It was a pretty good technical match, nothing too special. Chavo looked to be going for the Three Amigos suplexes when Hardy hit the Twist of Fate out of nowhere for the three-count.

Now they're running a video package highlighting the McMahon Money giveaway and it ends, of course, with the footage of "Mr. McMahon's accident." Now we get to see the announcers do the "Owen voice" when we come back for the next match. Isn't that lovely. And Belfi thinks my "Chavo text messages" blast was out of line!

BELFI - Night of Champions - Chavo vs. Matt Hardy

By Paul Belfi

Now THIS match could be f&%$&king excellent IF they get the time to deliver what they do best - wrestle.

Matt Hardy in ECW is a big fish in a little pond but frankly, I don't care. More Matt Hardy is a good thing - I never thought I'd see the day that I would push for Matt getting a world title run BEFORE his brother Jeff, but that is exactly what I want to see. Nobody deserves it more. Besides, his ring entrance music is awesome.


As Mike Ptak says to me repeatedly, 'I love, and will always love, Matt Hardy.' [Insert Price Is Right tuba here].

Just bumped into an old 'friend' - Sonny the DJ. Sonny has a speech impediment due to being partially deaf. Yes, I said he was a DJ. For the sake of comparison - picture BIG SHOW cutting a promo with a mouth of marbles - that's how Sonny talks. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA - worst f&%&king DJ walking the planet Earth, but a nice guy.

A short match - but enjoyable. My main man MATT HARDY gets the clean victory!

Night of Champions Liveblogging Part I

By Rick Morris

I guess this is a measure of how few PPVs I watch these days -- I didn't know Martin Short hosted their pregame show!

The show opened with a video package focusing on Chavo Guerrero receiving some ominous text messages. Just kidding -- but you have to admit, they would stoop to that. Actually, it was a video package about what it means to be a champion and how elite being a champion is. I'm not quite sure how it could be so elite to be a champion when there's an entire show with title matches, but there you go.

As will be the case quite often tonight, Paul Belfi is writing at the same time I am, so our thoughts will be posted up there fairly intermittently.

The opening match had Miz and Morrison defending the WWE Tag Team Titles against Finlay and Hornswaggle in your standard exposing-the-business comedy match. Hornswaggle ended up playing the Ricky Morton role after getting in some fluke offense. After doing the obligatory dive-through-the-legs spot, Horney got the tag to Finlay, who then kicked major arse (as the Irish might say). The Tadpole Splash attempt ended with him getting pitched off the top rope and pinned. Miz and Morrison win and all is right with the world.

BELFI - Night Of Champions - Miz/Morrison vs. Finley & Hornswaggle

By Paul Belfi

Always good to hear ANY WWE PPV start off with the voice of wrestling - Jim Ross. I am looking forward to seeing how he and Mick Foley gel as an announce team - I have a hunch it will be great, given time.

I forget the name of the fay-get ring announcer, but I don't like him.

Now onto one of the matches that - believe it or not - I was actually looking forward to.

I can't believe at how over and improved Miz is - Morrison as well. A great tag team. Working with Finley in the ring and behind the scenes is only going to make them better. I am on the lookout for Miz' mom here at Harpo's. She is the definition of the acronym MILF.

Hornswaggle doing 'Stone Cold Stunners' is fantastic - AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Horny takes a bump like no other - that little bastard... I love him!

Morrison bitch-slapping Horny reminds me of what I do to Ptak during commercials on Pro Wrestling Insider (heard exclusively on every Tuesday night at 7p Eastern).

And after seeing Horny get his arse kicked, Miz and Morrison retain their championship.

WWE Night Of Champions - Pre PPV Report

by Paul Belfi

Rick Morris, Mike Ptak and I are live at Harpo's Sports Cafe in Brook Park, OH preparing for the WWE PPV. Personally I am looking forward to this show because (logically speaking, of course) there has to be at least one title change tonight based on the outcome of last Monday night's 'draft'.

The food is tasty, the beverages are cold, but watching Ptak eat a plate of wings is somewhat repulsive - but for the loyal readers of THE FDH LOUNGE Blog, I will suck it up for you.

Enjoy the PPV everyone.

Remember when Olbermann faked modesty?

By Rick Morris

Keith Olbermann has shown himself to be enough of an out-of-his-depth political lightweight that even those who share his fever-swamp hatreds like Glenn Greenwald are taking him apart on a regular basis. As he degenerates further and further into his irrelevant world of obsessive grudge-furthering and political lie-circulating, it occurred to me that KO had previously tried to rehabilitate his reputation with an allegedly heartfelt mea culpa for being an idiot. Given my mad Google-fu skills, I uncovered his sniveling Uriah Heep routine in no time. Compare and contrast the words you see here and here with the remorseless, deranged rantings chronicled on a daily basis at OlbermannWatch.

Here's some of the better passages:

"This isn't even about specific events or people, although nearly everybody at ESPN merits an apology from me, and I give it willingly and with great sadness, but with some hope that it will explain if not erase my actions, and might even be of some inspiration to any who might be afflicted in the same curious way I've come to learn I am.

This is about not knowing why you do things -- literally, not knowing for years and years -- and then suddenly beginning to scratch the surface of understanding. That earlier imagery about the gauzy haze is almost factually precise: It feels as if I've been coming out of a huge fog bank." QUESTION: When did you get re-immersed?

"But whatever any of them said about 'insecurity' or 'perfectionism,' I know I just took it as an attack and stiffened my extra-long spine." Wow, Keith, you seem so much better-adjusted these days. Of course, my sarcasm at the expense of "The Great One" probably just got me nominated for "Worst Person in the World."

The oddest thing about all this, is that even when I left -- and in six weeks I will have been gone longer than I was there -- executives like Walsh and Howard Katz underscored that I was welcome to return at some distant future date, despite all the Sturm und Drang. And, man, I was usually producing both the Sturm and the Drang." Keith, do you forget what you've written previously, or do you just have no capacity for self-awareness?

Referring to ESPN's executives, I told Freeman that 'other than Steve Anderson, I don't think any of them are any good.' Well, that was ridiculous then and it is ridiculous now. Without even judging how good they were, just to keep a monolith like ESPN on the air every day requires as many good executives as they have at NORAD." OK, who are you going to admit you were lying about a few years from now? Are O'Reilly and Murdoch really good guys who you're just perpetrating show-biz feuds with for the sake of ratings and dollars?

I now read with horror of my ESPN2 co-host, Ms. Kolber, sequestering herself in the women's bathroom and weeping over how I treated her. She told Freeman that as things deteriorated, I wouldn't talk to her. She's wrong: I couldn't talk to her. I pumped up some small-scale complaints into a scenario in which she was at fault for everything ESPN2 hadn't become. I wasn't completely obtuse back then, and if anything would have cut through my neuroses, it would've been a colleague's tears. If I had known, I think I could've jumped over the fence I'd built around myself and said what the inner guy always knew: No TV show is worth crying over. Suzy: I'm sorry." And how many MSNBC employees cry in restrooms right now as a result of your bullying personality, Keith?

"So, I'm sorry. It should have been done differently. It wasn't. Then again, I'm only finding out now about that extra vertebra and the extra steps I have to take to learn how to be, well, flexible." If any MSNBC employee wants to leave any of Keith's old words for him on a note left on his desktop, there's a crisp shiny fin in it for you!

Get well soon Brian Windhorst

By Rick Morris

One of America's best basketball writers, Brian Windhorst (who writes for the Akron Beacon-Journal and has been hospitalized and is recuperating from an illness at the present time. This matter kept him from reporting on the NBA Draft, which tells you everything you need to know about the serious nature of the illness given his tireless reporting. He is a great reporter and a classy gentleman who has always been good to the organization. From everyone associated with FDH, our thoughts and prayers are with Brian and his family and we hope for a speedy and full recovery as soon as possible.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More early 2008 NBA roster analysis

By Rick Morris

Here's more great analysis from our Senior Editor Jason Jones as he dissects all 30 NBA rosters in the aftermath of this past week's draft. Note that with his roster rankings, he lists a few of the key players on each team. Bear in mind also that the statistical rankings relate to Part I of his post-draft analysis in the column posted just below this one.

Gut Check Roster Rankings

1 BOS KG, Pierce, Allen, Rondo
2 PHO Nash, Amare, Shaq
3 DET Billups, Rip, Prince, Sheed
4 DAL Dirk, Kidd, Josh, Terry
5 POR Oden, Roy, Bayless, Webster
6 LAL Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Odom
7 NJN Carter, Yi, Lopez, Harris, Krstic
8 SA TD, Parker, Bowen, Manu
9 LAC Brand, Maggette, Egordon
10 ATL Johnson, Smith, Bibby, Horford
11 DEN AI, Melo, Camby, Nene, JR
12 UTA Boozer, Deron, AK47, Koufos
13 MIA Wade, Beasley, Marion, Mario
14 PHI Iguodala, Miller, Carney, Speights
15 TOR Bosh, O'Neal, Bargnani, Calderon
16 MEM Conley, Gay, Mayo, Darco
17 CLE Lebron, Boobie, Z, Ben, West
18 CHI Rose, Hughes, Deng, Gooden
19 HOU T-Mac, Yao, Battier
20 NO Paul, Peja, West, Peterson
21 MIN Love, Jefferson, Brewer, Foye
22 CHA Felton, Richardson, Wallace
23 SEA Durant, Green, Westbrook
24 MIL Redd, Jefferson, Villanueva, Bogut
25 GS Davis, Ellis, Jackson, Harrington
26 ORL Howard, Lewis, Nelson
27 WAS Arenas, Butler, Jamison
28 SAC Martin, Artest, Miller
29 IND Ford, Rush, Granger, Hibbert
30 NYK Marbury, Crawford, Gallinari, Curry

Statistical Rankings by Roster

1 PHO Nash, Amare, Shaq
2 DAL Dirk, Kidd, Josh, Terry
3 DEN AI, Melo, Camby, Nene, JR
4 MIA Wade, Beasley, Marion, Mario
5 LAC Brand, Maggette, Egordon
6 DET Billups, Rip, Prince, Sheed
7 MEM Conley, Gay, Mayo, Darco
8 BOS KG, Pierce, Allen, Rondo
9 NJN Carter, Yi, Lopez, Harris, Krstic
10 NO Paul, Peja, West, Peterson
11 UTA Boozer, Deron, AK47, Koufos
12 HOU T-Mac, Yao, Battier
13 TOR Bosh, O'Neal, Bargnani, Calderon
14 POR Oden, Roy, Bayless, Webster
15 ATL Johnson, Smith, Bibby, Horford
16 SAC Martin, Artest, Miller
17 CLE Lebron, Boobie, Z, Ben, West
18 LAL Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Odom
19 MIL Redd, Jefferson, Villanueva, Bogut
20 SA TD, Parker, Bowen, Manu
21 ORL Howard, Lewis, Nelson
22 WAS Arenas, Butler, Jamison
23 MIN Love, Jefferson, Brewer, Foye
24 IND Ford, Rush, Granger, Hibbert
25 CHI Rose, Hughes, Deng, Gooden
26 PHI Iguodala, Miller, Carney, Speights
27 SEA Durant, Green, Westbrook
28 GS Davis, Ellis, Jackson, Harrington
29 CHA Felton, Richardson, Wallace
30 NYK Marbury, Crawford, Gallinari, Curry

2007-08 Final Team Rankings

1 BOS KG, Pierce, Allen, Rondo
2 LAL Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Odom
3 DET Billups, Rip, Prince, Sheed
4 NO Paul, Peja, West, Peterson
5 SA TD, Parker, Bowen, Manu
6 ORL Howard, Lewis, Nelson
7 UTA Boozer, Deron, AK47, Koufos
8 CLE Lebron, Boobie, Z, Ben, West
9 HOU T-Mac, Yao, Battier
10 WAS Arenas, Butler, Jamison
11 PHO Nash, Amare, Shaq
12 TOR Bosh, O'Neal, Bargnani, Calderon
13 DAL Dirk, Kidd, Josh, Terry
14 PHI Iguodala, Miller, Carney, Speights
15 DEN AI, Melo, Camby, Nene, JR
16 ATL Johnson, Smith, Bibby, Horford
17 GS Davis, Ellis, Jackson, Harrington
18 IND Ford, Rush, Granger, Hibbert
19 POR Oden, Roy, Bayless, Webster
20 NJN Carter, Yi, Lopez, Harris, Krstic
21 SAC Martin, Artest, Miller
22 CHI Rose, Hughes, Deng, Gooden
23 CHA Felton, Richardson, Wallace
24 LAC Brand, Maggette, Egordon
25 MIL Redd, Jefferson, Villanueva, Bogut
26 MIN Love, Jefferson, Brewer, Foye
27 NYK Marbury, Crawford, Gallinari, Curry
28 MEM Conley, Gay, Mayo, Darco
29 SEA Durant, Green, Westbrook
30 MIA Wade, Beasley, Marion, Mario

Assumed Team Movement

1 ATL None
2 BOS None
3 CHA ? About S. May and R. Felton
4 CHI Hinrich and Thabo may be available
5 CLE Exp Contracts, look for a big trade
6 DAL Desperately need a real Big Man
7 DEN Need Defense BADLY
8 DET Could move any of the big 4
9 GS Still need a real Center
10 HOU Must stay healthy…that’s it
11 IND Rebuilding might not be done
12 LAC Health is an issue, otherwise nice
13 LAL Need Andrew Bynum for a real shot
14 MEM Building for the future, nicely
15 MIA Need a big, but sexy 1-4
16 MIL Rebuilding, Redd could be out (cle)
17 MIN Nice little team, but far away
18 NJN Deepest team, go 11 deep
19 NO Much better than on paper
20 NYK TRADE SOME PG's!!!!!!
21 ORL Need one more significant player
22 PHI Growing slowly, could surprise in 08
23 PHO Dead after the starting 5+Barbosa
24 POR If in the east, a sure playoff team
25 SA May need to rebuild by 2010
26 SAC Artest is gone, need 3 more players
27 SEA A real big away from being serious
28 TOR Very young, could be a sleeper
29 UTA Very nice s5, just wait for Koufos
30 WAS Arenas is gone, so are the Wiz

2008-09 Tier Groupings

tier one Elite, for now

3 SA

tier two The Next Elite Group

7 NO

tier three Look Out, 'Cause They're Coming

10 POR
11 NJN
12 MIA
13 UTA
14 LAC
15 MEM
16 SEA
17 MIN

tier four Overrated

18 DEN
19 WAS
20 ORL
21 ATL
22 GS

tier five Still a Little Ways Away

23 PHI
24 CHI
25 TOR
26 IND
27 CHA

tier six Dude, It's Time to Start Over

28 NYK
29 MIL
30 SAC

2008-09 Preliminary League Projections

1 LAL Bynum will be the difference
2 BOS Still very very good
3 PHO They will find a way to be relevent
4 NO Chris Paul carries the team again
5 NJN Depth pays off
6 CLE Lebron, Lebron, Lebron
7 DAL Still decent but not great
8 HOU If healthy, they'll be in it
9 MIA Huge turn around in the East
10 SA Falling with each passing minute
11 UTA Very solid nucleus
12 DET With players moved, they will fall
13 POR Growing into a West Conf playoff team
14 PHI Exciting but not there yet
15 MEM Growing into a West Conf playoff team
16 CHI Growing pains, but still fun to watch
17 LAC If healthy, they'll be in it
18 ATL Team needs to gel with consistancy
19 ORL Still a prime time player away
20 TOR Getting better, but still very young
21 DEN Melo+AI=No Defense
22 GS Fast and fun, but not good enough
23 MIN Growing nicely, but need time
24 SEA Nice pieces but still not there yet
25 WAS No Arenas, just decent
26 IND Rebuilding, don't expect much
27 CHA Jordan and Brown will need time
28 SAC No Artest, no chance still need players
29 MIL Rebuilding, don't expect much
30 NYK A team of PG's can't win games

2008-09 Very Preliminary Playoff Rankings

Eastern Conference

1 BOS Still Very Very Good
2 NJN Like BOS, will win…often
3 CLE Top 4 team, without Redd
4 MIA Huge improvement in a lesser Conf
5 DET With changes, they will be just OK
6 PHI Strong team tough to defend
7 CHI Growing but still a second tier team
8 ATL Will win games, but not a contender

Western Conference

1 LAL Bynum is the difference…period
2 PHO Will find a way to win games
3 NO How does Chris Paul do it?
4 DAL Dirk and Kidd are good enough for 4
5 HOU T-Mac/Yao healthy, they're in
6 SA Getting older will hurt their chances
7 UTA Coming into their own for the playoffs
8 POR Will be a juggernaut in time

Eastern Conference Finals


Western Conference Finals

LAL vs. NO

NBA Finals


NBA Champions

Los Angeles Lakers

Roster analysis, post-NBA Draft

By Rick Morris

Our Senior Editor and Chief NBA Draft analyst Jason Jones has come up with a tremendous breakdown of team rosters, post-draft. He projects the depth charts and assigns scores to all players on the roster. Here is the scoring system:

10: Future Hall of Famer
9: Perennial All-Star
8: Occasional All-Star
7: Fringe All-Star
6: Legitimate Starter
5: Rotation Contributor
4: Role Player
3: Situational Player
2: Bum
1: NDBL Player

Now, this is only one way to evaluate the overall strengths and weaknesses of the teams in the league, but I find Jason's analysis fascinating.


PG M. Bibby A. Law
SG J. Johnson S. Stoudamire
SF J. Smith J. Childress
PF M. Williams S. Jones
C A. Horford Z. Pachulia

Three 7s, Two 6s, Three 5s, Two 3s: Average 5.4


PG R.Rondo T. Allen G. Pruitt
SG R. Allen J.R. Giddens
SF P. Pierce J. Posey Bill Walker
PF K. Garnett L. Powe G. Davis
C K. Perkins P.J. Brown S. Erden

Three 10s, Two 6s, Three 5s, Two 4s, Four 3s: Average 5.5


PG R. Felton D.J. Augustine K. Weaver
SG J. Richardson M. Carroll
SF G. Wallace J. Dudley A. Morrison
PF E. Okafor S. May
C A. Ajinca N. Muhammed O. Harrington

One 7, Three 6s, Four 5s, Three 4s, One 3, One 2: Average 4.4


PG D. Rose K. Hinrich JamesOn Curry
SG L. Hughes B. Gordon Thabo Sefolosha
SF L. Deng A. Nocioni Demetrius Nicols
PF D. Gooden T. Thomas Cedric Simmons
C J. Noah A. Gray Omer Asik

One 8, Four 6s, Four 5s, Four 4s, One 3, One 2: Average 4.8


PG D. West D. Jones
SG D. Gibson S. Pavlovic
SF Lebron W. Szczerbiak
PF B. Wallace J. Smith J.J. Hickson
C Z. Ilgauskas A. Varejao D. Jones

One 10, One 8, One 7, One 6, Four 5s, One 4, Two 3s, One 2: Average 5.3


PG J. Kidd J. J. Barea
SG J. Stackhouse J. Terry
SF J. Howard E. Jones
PF D. Nowitzki J. Howard
C E. Dampier B. Bass

Two 10s, One 7, One 6, Four 5s, One 4, One 2: Average 5.9


PG A. Iverson C. Atkins T. Green
SG J.R. Smith Y. Diawara S. Weems
SF C. Anthony L. Kleiza
PF K. Martin Nene
C M. Camby S. Hunter

One 10, One 9, One 8, Three 6s, Three 5s, Two 4s, One 3: Average 5.9


PG C. Billups R. Stuckey D. Washington
SG R. Hamilton A. Afflalo W. Sharpe
SF T. Prince A. Johnson W. Hermann
PF R. Wallace J. Maxiell T. Plainsted
C A. Mcdyess C. Samb

Three 9s, One 7, One 6, Four 5s, Four 4s, One 3: Average 5.6

Golden State

PG B. Davis C. Watson
SG M. Ellis M. Belinelli R. Hendrix
SF S. Jackson K. Azubuke
PF A. Harrington A. Randolph B. Wright
C A. Biedrins M. Pietrus K. Perovic

One 8, Four 6s, Three 5s, Two 4s, Two 3s, One 2: Average 4.5


PG B. Jackson R. Alston
SG T. McGrady L. Head S. Francis
SF S. Battier D. Greene C. Hayes
PF L. Scola J. Dorsey M. Leunen
C Y. Ming L. Woods

Two 10s, Four 6s, Five 5s, Two 3s: Average 5.5


PG T.J. Ford R. Murray T. Diener
SG B. Rush S. Graham
SF D. Granger M. Daniels S. Williams
PF T. Murphy D. Harrison
C R. Hibbert J. Foster

Seven 6s, Two 5s, Two 4s, One 2: Average 5.1

LA Clippers

PG S. Livingston B. Knight S. Parker
SG E. Gordon C. Mobley
SF C. Maggette A. Thornton Mike Taylor
PF E. Brand T. Thomas N. Fazekas
C C. Kaman D. Jordan

One 10, One 7, Six 6s, Two 5s, Two 4s, One 2: Average 5.6

LA Lakers

PG D. Fisher J. Farmar
SG K. Bryant S. Vujacic C. Karl
SF L. Odom L. Walton T. Ariza
PF P. Gasol R. Turiaf J. Crawford
C A. Bynum C. Mihm D. Mbenga

One 10, One 9, Two 7s, One 6, Four 5s, Two 4s, Two 3s, One 1: Average 5.3


PG M. Conley K. Lowry J. Crittendon
SG O.J. Mayo J. Carlos Navarro M. Jaric
SF R. Gay A. Walker G. Buckner
PF H. Warrick D. Arthur A. Brown
C D. Milicic J. Collins

One 9, One 8, One 7, Six 6s, One 5, Two 4s, Two 3s: Average 5.6


PG M. Chalmers M. Banks
SG D. Wade D. Cook B. Ahearn
SF M. Beasley R. Davis D. Wright
PF S. Marion M. Blount D. Jackson
C U. Haslem E. Barron

One 10, One 9, Two 8s, Four 6s, Two 5s, Three 3s: Average 5.7


PG M. Williams C. Bell
SG M. Redd D. Mason
SF R. Jefferson J. Alexander
PF C. Villanueva L. Mbah A Moute
C A. Bogut D. Gadzuric

Two 8s, One 7, Three 6s, One 5, Two 4s, Two 3s: Average 5.3


PG R. Foye S. Telfair
SG R. McCants K. Snyder Nikola Pekovic
SF C. Brewer M. Miller R. Gomes
PF K. Love C. Smith C. Richard
C A. Jefferson M. Madson J. Collins

B. Cardinal

One 9, Two 7s, Three 6s, Two 5s, Five 4s, One 3, One 2: Average 5.1

New Jersey

PG D. Harris M. Williams M. Ager
SG V. Carter C. Douglas-Roberts T. Hassell
SF Y. Jianlian B. Simmons
PF N. Krstic J. Boone R. Anderson
C B. Lopez S. Swift

Two 9s, One 8, Two 7s, Two 6s, Three 5s, Two 4s, One 3: Average 6.1

New Orleans

PG C. Paul J. Pargo
SG M. Peterson M. James
SF P. Stoyakovic J. Wright R. Butler
PF D. West M. Ely C. Anderson
C T. Chandler H. Armstrong

One 10, One 8, Two 7s, One 6, Four 5s, Two 4s: Average 5.5

New York

PG S. Marbury N. Robinson M. Collins
SG J. Crawford J. Jeffries
SF D. Gallinari Q. Richardson R. Balkman
PF Z. Randolph D. Lee M. Rose
C E. Curry J. James R. Morris

Two 7s, Three 6s, Three 5s, One 4, Two 3s, One 2, Two 1s: Average 4.3


PG J. Nelson

SG C. Lee K. Bogans
SF R. Lewis M. Evans
PF H. Turkoglu B. Cook T. Battie
C D. Howard J. Augustine A. Foyle

One 9, One 8, Two 6s, Three 5s, Two 4s, Two 3s: Average 5.2


PG A. Miller L. Williams
SG R. Carney W. Green
SF A. Iguodala T. Young
PF M. Speights J. Smith L. Amundson
C S. Dalembert S. Randolph C. Booth

Four 7s, One 6, Two 5s, One 4, Two 3s, One 2, One 1: Average 4.7


PG S. Nash D. Strawberry
SG R. Bell A. Tucker
SF B. Diaw G. Hill
PF A. Stoudemire M. Hairston
C S. O'Neal R. Lopez

Two 10s, One 9, Two 7s, One 6, One 5, One 4, Two 3s: Average 6.4


PG J. Bayless S. Blake
SG B. Roy V. Wafer
SF M. Webster T. Outlaw D. Miles
PF L. Aldridge C. Frye J. McRoberts
C G. Oden J. Pryzbilla R. LaFrentz

One 9, Four 8s, Two 5s, Three 4s, Two 3s, One 2: Average 5.4


PG S. Singletary

SG K. Martin Q. Douby J. Salmons
SF R. Artest F. Garcia
PF S. Williams M. Moore S. Abdur-Rahim
C B. Miller S. Hawes K. Thomas

One 8, Two 7s, Two 6s, Five 5s, Two 4s, One 3: Average 5.4

San Antonio

PG T. Parker D. Stoudamire G. Hill
SG M. Ginobli G. Dragic
SF B. Bowen I. Udoka B. Jones
PF T. Duncan M. Bonner J. Gist
C F. Oberto I. Mahinimi

One 10, Two 9s, One 7, Three 5s, Two 4s, Two 3s, Two 2s: Average 5.2


PG R. Westbrook E. Watson L. Ridnour
SG J. Green D. Wilkin
SF K. Durant A. Griffin R. Dupree
PF N. Collison D.J. White C. Wilcox
C J. Petro D. Hardin S. Kahn

S. Ibaka

One 9, Three 6s, Five 5s, Three 4s, Two 3s, One 1: Average 4.7


PG J. Calderon

SG J. Moon C. Delfino J. Graham
SF A. Bargnani J. Kapono J. Garbojosa (FA)
PF C. Bosh K. Humphries M. Baston
C J. O'Neal

Two 9s, Three 6s, Three 5s, One 4, Two 3s: Average 5.5


PG D. Williams R. Price J. Hart
SG R. Brewer K. Korver M. Almond
SF A. Kirilenko M. Harpring C.J. Miles
PF C. Boozer P. Milsap T. Dragicevic
C K. Koufos M. Okur J. Collins

Two 9s, One 8, One 7, Five 6s, Three 4s, Two 3s, One 2: Average 5.5


PG G. Arenas A. Daniels
SG D. Stevenson N. Young
SF C. Butler O. Pecherov D. McGuire
PF A. Blatche D. Songalia
C B. Haywood J. McGee E. Thomas

One 8, One 7, Three 6s, Five 5s, One 3, One 2: Average 5.2