Thursday, May 31, 2007

Donovan to Orlando

It looks like University of Florida head men's basketball coach, Billy Donovan, will be named as the new coach of the NBA's Orlando Magic.

In April, Donovan turned down overtures by the University of Kentucky to become its men's basketball coach. After winning back to back NCAA Championships at Florida, it appeared that Donovan was intent on building a super power at UF. But after losing most of the mainstays from the championship teams, and facing the prospect of rebuilding his program in a football obsessed environment, the timing couldn't have been better for Donovan to split.

Orlando wins by luring Donovan, at at time when he's on top of the basketball world, from nearby UF. Donovan likes it in North Central Florida. He won't have to move very far (but don't expect him to commute from Gainesville - anyone who's ever driven 241 from Gainesville to Orlando knows that it's not an easy drive).

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Quick Offering of Our Two Cents, For Free

In the last two days, Utah and Cleveland have bounced back from 0-2 starts by winning a game each in their respective Conference Finals playoff series.' San Antonio now leads Utah 2-1, and Detroit leads Cleveland 2-1 in the Western and Eastern Conference Finals.

Drive and Dish cautions its readers not to read too much into these wins. Both teams won home games that they desperately needed to win. Various "media types" are mouthing and writing predictable platitudes about Utah and Cleveland "growing up" and "learning how to win." But Detroit and San Antonio are the best teams in the league - they will eventually meet each other in the NBA finals.

Utah and Cleveland are up and coming teams. They will, no doubt, be heard from in the near future. But their time is not now. Detroit and San Antonio are the best teams in the league. Period.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

LeBron Passes Ball, Causes Controversy

There's a ton of media chatter today the wake of LeBron James' decision to pass off rather than take the last (and potentially game tying) shot in last night's Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons. The typical commentary goes something like this: LeBron doesn't have the killer instinct, he's got to step up and want the ball at the end of the game, LeBron can't be the next Jordan until he takes over and makes game winners, etc. This kind of talk is, of course, ridiculous.

LeBron James was five of fifteen from the field and he failed to get to the free throw line. He was probably fouled several times taking the ball to the basket, but the referees just weren't giving him any calls. Therefore, it was a smart play for LeBron to drive, attract a double team and dish out to Donyell Marshall for an open three pointer (that could have won the game for Cleveland).

LeBron James is a special talent. He's able to score inside and out - he can easily take defenders off the dribble and finish in the lane, but can be equally dangerous from the perimeter. What sets LeBron apart from other scorers, though, is his ability to see the floor like a point guard, and create shots for his teammates. The dude is a the total package - a big, strong, athletic wing player with an all round game and a high basketball IQ. What's more, he's not an ego-maniacal ball hog. He wants to make the smart play. The best play.

He did just that when he dished off to Donyell Marshall last night.

You don't' have to step up and take every last shot to be a superstar. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird used their superior court vision and basketball smarts to win games by either finding open teammates or taking the last shot themselves. Bird and Magic always did the right thing at the right time. That's why they were so great. LeBron doesn't need to become a Kobe Bryant type ball hog. He needs to keep on making the smart play.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Utah Reaches Western Conference Finals

Last week Drive and Dish opined that the Utah Jazz were an up and coming NBA team, but weren't a threat to win the West this year. Last night Utah advanced to the Western Conference finals by beating the Golden State Warriors. Utah's opponent will be the winner of the San Antonio, Phoenix series.

Drive and Dish has been very impressed by Utah's performance in the playoffs so far. However, we think that Utah's next opponent, whether it's Phoenix or San Antonio, will be much tougher to get past. Golden State didn't have enough size to match up against Utah. Houston, Utah's opponent in the first round, had size and talent, but just hasn't put it all together yet. Phoenix and San Antonio are talented, veteran teams with size and playoff experience.

By the way, Chicago has made a nice push to regain some respectability against Detroit. But they're still not in Detroit's league.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nowitzki Chosen NBA MVP

In what has to be one of the worst kept secrets in recent memory (kind of like Hillary Clinton's, John Edwards', John McCain's and Rudy Giuliani's Presidential aspirations - we knew, for years, that they'd run, so their official "I'm running" announcements were anti-climactic), Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has been named MVP of the NBA. Nowitzki becomes the first European NBA MVP. It's been known, for nearly a week, that Nowitzki would get the MVP award.

Yay for him.

Too bad he couldn't get his team out of the first round of the playoffs.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Chicago Takes Game Four, Avoids Sweep

The Chicago Bulls finally pulled themselves together and held the Detroit Pistons off today, and, in doing so, avoided being swept by Detroit. But Chicago fans shouldn't get too excited. No NBA team that started a playoff series 0-3 has ever come back to win the series. And while Drive and Dish doesn't mind thinking "out of the box" (it's never happened, but that doesn't mean that it can't ever happen), we just don't think that Chicago is good enough to get past Detroit.

It was good, however, for Chicago to avoid being swept. Chicago is still, primarily, a young, developing team. And while they may not have all of the pieces that are necessary to be a championship contender, they are, ultimately, a team that's building and making progress (albeit slowly ... very slowly). Chicago has a looong way to go, but they won't have to end their season (most likely Tuesday night) having been thoroughly embarrassed. Chicago isn't in Detroit's league, but they will be able to go into the off season with a shred of dignity (and a glimmer of hope for the future).

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Detroit Continues Beat Down of Chicago

Yesterday, Drive and Dish opined that the Detroit Pistons are the best team in the NBA. We said that we weren't surprised that they had taken it to Chicago (despite Chicago's sweep of defending NBA champ Miami in round one) in the first two games of their second round playoff series. Tonight, Detroit beat Chicago to take a 3-0 series lead.

Chicago is simply not in Detroit's league. Signing Ben Wallace away from Detroit wasn't enough to make Chicago a true contender in the East. Chicago will have to acquire Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess, etc. in order to get past Detroit in the near future. Oh, and just in case you're thinking about how Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Chicago Bulls couldn't get past the Bad Boys of Detroit in the late 80's and 1990, but eventually broke through in 1991 ( en route to winning the first three of their six NBA titles) - and are thinking that there's some kind of parallel going on now ... forget about it. This Chicago team is not "learning how to win," "gaining playoff experience" or any other tired cliche that many Chicago fans are, undoubtedly, spouting as supposed "words of wisdom" in order to explain Chicago's hideous play. This Chicago team doesn't have developing stars (don't be fooled by Luol Deng's output against Miami- Antoine Walker and Jason Kapono took turns "guarding" him - he's not a budding superstar). This Chicago team is a collection of role players who manage to get the most out of their talents. They won't win anything until they get a go to guy (and a secondary guy).

The truth is obvious: Chicago just can't hang with Detroit.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Chicago Gets Rude Awakening in Playoffs, Courtesy of Detroit

After Chicago swept Shaq, Dwayne Wade and the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat from the first round of the playoffs, many people started to speculate that the Chicago Bulls may be capable of making a deep playoff run. Despite their coterie of talent, Miami looked hapless against Chicago. Chicago's Luol Deng looked like an emerging star. Scott Skiles out coached Pat freakin' Riley, for god sakes. Anyone who had watched the Chicago/Miami series would have, understandably, said that Chicago's arrow was pointing up.

Well, Drive and Dish didn't really watch the Miami/Chicago series. We only watched game four (and only the second half, at that). We simply didn't think that Chicago was good enough to get past Miami, so we weren't really all that interested in the series. Chicago has made three straight playoff appearances, but have never been a threat to actually win a playoff series. Drive and Dish thought that this year's Chicago team wasn't really much different (save for Ben Wallace being better than Tyson Chandler) than the previous two Chicago teams. We thought that (even with an ailing Dwayne Wade) Miami had too much talent for Chicago. What we didn't anticipate, however, was how absolutely unmotivated Miami would be for the first round of the playoffs. Miami didn't take Chicago seriously. They barely even showed up to play.

So Chicago dispatched Miami easily. But sweeping an unmotivated Miami team, whose best player (Wade) was injured, was not a sign that Chicago is for real. It's merely an indictment of Miami.

Chicago has been blown out by Detroit in the first two games of their second round playoff series. Detroit is the best team in the Eastern Conference. They're probably the best team in the NBA. In fact, Detroit was probably the best team in the NBA last year, too (despite their playoff loss to eventual Champion Miami). The Detroit Pistons should win the NBA Finals this year. Detroit has highly skilled players at every position. They have serious depth. All five of their guys (no matter who's in the line up) can score and defend. And Detroit plays hard. Chicago is way outclassed.

So, we at Drive and Dish aren't surprised by how decisively Detroit has handled Chicago. Detroit is the best team in the league.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Utah Downs Houston in Game Seven

Last night, on Cinco de Mayo, the Utah Jazz eliminated the Houston Rockets from the NBA playoffs by winning game seven of their first round series. Utah vs. Houston was a great series. Utah is not a great team, but they have a great coach in Jerry Sloan, an emerging star in point guard Deron Williams (pictured, at left), and a veteran cast of surrounding players. Getting past Houston in the first round of the playoffs was a big step for this Utah team. They may not be a threat to win the West this year, but they're building something out there in the Wasatch mountains.

Earlier in the week, Golden State played giant killer by knocking the mighty Dallas Mavericks out of the playoffs. Golden State's improbable series win over the defending Western Conference champions is the biggest first round NBA playoff upset since the Denver Nuggets' stunning knockout of the star-studded Seattle Supersonics in 1994. Most likely, writers, analysts and "experts" will say that Dallas turned out to be over rated- that their loss to Golden State was a monumental flop by a team that wasn't deserving of its reputation. In reality, the NBA playoffs are about match ups and intensity. I think that Golden State was able to exploit Dallas' weaknesses. Head coach Don Nelson remembered how Miami's Dwayne Wade walked all over Dallas' back court in last years' NBA Finals. He knew that Dallas had trouble with quick penetrating guards and, thus, let Baron Davis do his thing against the Mavs. Then Nelson, who had previously coached the Dallas Mavericks and knew their stars inside and out, took advantage of Dallas superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki's questionable inside game. Golden State bet that Nowitzki wouldn't hurt them in the paint. They were right. They forced the seven footer to stay outside, and relegated him to being merely a spot up shooter. Golden State's "small ball" approach did Dallas in. It will be interesting to see if it works against their next opponent, the aforementioned Utah Jazz.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Adam Morrison Says: "Viva La Revolucion!"

Drive and Dish has historically hated on Adam Morrison. This weekend, Charlotte Bobcats forward Adam Morrison was in the mosh pit during the Rage Against the Machine show at the Coachella Music Festival. Morrison, who appeared to be dazed and confused - blazed and subdued, showed his solidarity with the outspokenly Communist and pro Zapatista Rage Against the Machine by rocking a Che Guevara tee shirt replete with a Che flag draped around his shoulders. The editorial staff at Drive and Dish (yeah, we called an emergency late night meeting) are thrilled that Morrison has given us a reason to take another swig of haterade.

Back when he was still playing for Gonzaga, I noticed that Adam Morrison was starting to look like Che. But, due to his pasty paleness, I also thought that he was beginning to look a little bit like Jack White, too. Now I know that I was on to something. Morrison's increasing resemblance to Che was no accident. He's shown us that Che is his guy.

Since Adam Morrison is so fond of Che Guevara and, apparently, of his fellow travelers in Rage Against the Machine, we can reasonably deduce that he's enamored of Marxism/Communism.
Great. So we can look forward to Morrison redistributing his millions in NBA earnings to the state ... right? ... you know, to each, according to his needs ...right? ... who's down with me? ... anyone? ... can you help a comrade out?

The bottom line is: Adam Morrison is a Che loving, Rage loving, apparently Communist leaning and revolution advocating multi millionaire professional athlete. Total. Freaking. Poser.

By the Way:

If I hadn't had a couple of flat tires on Tuesday night, I would have filed this post before midnight, and thus, would have posted this on May 1st: Mayday. How great would that have been?


The picture below shows Adam Morrison when he was in high school (yeah, it's hard to believe that he used to look like that). He's clearly been into Rage and Che for a while.

Notice the poster of Larry Bird. Although Adam Morrison is too young to have seen Bird during his playing days, he plays like Bird did (but not nearly as well). From his perimeter oriented game to the way he shoots from the side, Morrison has clearly modeled his game after Larry Bird's game. Just like he's modeled his appearance after Che Guevara's appearance. So, not only is Adam Morrison a poser, he's totally derivative.