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Project Shanks NBA Preview: Atlantic Division

By Matthew Carpenter
PSDC Writer

The AT&T Center cut the lights. Planes were boarded. Somewhere Gregg Popovich cracked a nice bottle of wine. The 2013-14 NBA season was put to bed. While there wasn’t much drama to close the season, the San Antonio Spurs gave us something to watch. The Spurs playoff point differential (214) was an NBA record and not a fluke. I sat in awe, not only of San Antonio’s domination of a Heat squad that was playing 1-on-5 for much of the series, but of the swathe of destruction they carved through a hellacious western conference. Watching the Spurs defend pick and roll, and then use it on the offensive end to set up secondary action was pure beauty. The 2013-14 Spurs were a champion of champions. This isn’t hyperbole. I’m talking 90s Bulls level of excellence.

Much of the drama was saved for the offseason and that didn’t disappoint either. LeBron, Melo, Jimmer, Love. There is no shortage of storylines as we embark on the 2014-15 season.

I count six teams with legitimate NBA title hopes and a few others on the fringe. That’s a big number for professional basketball. This season should be a lot of fun and filled with intrigue.

And then there’s this group…

Atlantic Division – We’ll start with the “Sad Clown” of NBA divisions. Big markets. Storied franchises. Lots of bad.

Order of Finish

1. Raptors – Toronto won 48 games last season and mostly retain the status quo for 2014-15. As a team with a history of hemorrhaging promising players, the re-signing of Kyle Lowry should be viewed as a huge win for general manager Masai Ujiri. The underrated backcourt of Lowry and Demar DeRozan are a “plus” tandem on both sides of the floor. For 4 years/48 million, the Raptors landed a very reasonable contract for a 27-year-old coming off a career season in which he posted 17ppg and a 20+ PER. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing -The Spurs Chernobyl Big Three

By Stephen Thomas
PSDC Funnyman and Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

Well, the Spurs are NBA Champions again, after smacking the Miami Heat around the last three games like a hooker short on her earnings. Watching them hoist the trophy, we also heard analysts talk about San Antonio’s “Big Three” of Duncan, Parker & Ginobili in terms more glowing than a Chernobyl cheeseburger, and they all kept saying “Enjoy a group of guys playing this long together, because it may never come again.” [Read more…]

8 Game Home Stand Gives Mavericks An Opportunity To Move Up

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

“There’s opportunity here, but it’s going to be very challenging, too,” said Rick Carlisle after Monday’s practice. “We’re going to have to work to keep our edge every day and every night. We’ll find out a lot about our character. The ability to keep that edge is one of the signs of competitive character. We’re going to have to have it.”

The Mavericks, fresh off a three-game road trip that was punctuated by a 23-point victory at Oklahoma City, are now faced with something their head coach hasn’t seen in his three decades in the league; an eight-game home stand. The favorable schedule allows the team to remain at home for the remainder of the month, but Dirk Nowitzki isn’t so sure of his team’s chances to improve their standing.

Dirk.Backing.Down

[Read more…]

2014 NBA Draft Tank Rank

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC NFL/NBA Editor

The NBA season is finally here. This is my favorite time of the year. I love football, but my heart belongs to basketball. With football and basketball going on at the same time, I look forward to many late nights of watching replays and highlights. This NBA season will be like none other we have known. Not because of Houston getting Dwight Howard, or Brooklyn getting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, or Miami going for a three-peat. No, this year is different because we have so many teams already tanking for a better draft pick before the season has even started. There are anywhere from 4-7 projected All-Stars in the 2014 draft, and everyone wants a piece of the top half of this draft. It doesn’t matter who wins the championship this year, all that matters is who will pick first.

I will keep track of the Tank Rank for you all season long, and let you know who has the inside track on the No. 1 pick this season as well as the right to draft Andrew Wiggins among others. 

1. Philadelphia 76ers

I know that the Suns traded for an injured Marin Gortat, but the Sixers traded away their only All-Star caliber player for an injured rookie who might not play this year, Nerlens Noel. At this point they are the leaders in the Tank Rank, but the reason why I believe they are most likely to keep the top spot is they have cheap assets they can dump in the coming months if they win some games they shouldn’t, or some of the other tanking teams loses more than expected. Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner are two players that would fit in well with almost every team that has thoughts of a deep playoff run. Keep an eye on the rumor mill for Young and Turner, but keep your eyes off the Sixers.

2. Phoenix Suns

I see you Phoenix. Giving up your second-best player, Gortat, for and injured Emeka Okafor is the move we needed to get the ball rolling with this tankfest. The Suns are going to be awful, and outside Eric Bledsoe or Goran Dragic, I don’t see a player that is even worth having on an NBA roster. Maybe Alex Len in a few years, but for now there are only two NBA players on this roster. The problem that Phoenix will have is that they aren’t trading Bledsoe, and the only teams that could utilize Dragic will be teams that need a backup point guard, or teams that have an injury to their starter. But, no one is given up much to get Dragic. Philly can move Turner or Young and command an additional first round pick this year. The secret weapon up Phoenix’s sleeve is the expected “hamstring injury” to Bledsoe. [Read more…]

Bill Simmons Should Be Mad, Chris Rock is Wrong About Brooklyn

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man 

On Thursday night during the 2013 NBA Draft the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics completed a trade that, coupled with the Doc Rivers interview, made for Bill Simmons’ worst night on television. I for one love Bill Simmons. I think he is great, and I know the cool, hipster thing to do is hate on Simmons, but I am not cool and for the most part I believe hipsters are worth as much as a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin getting it on.

Before we get to Bill and his, um, let’s call it passion, there was another celebrity that had something to say about this trade.

Shortly after the trade was made, Chris Rock had the following tweet.

The trade consisted of Brooklyn getting Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, Boston receives Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph and unprotected first round picks in 2014, 2016, 2018 and the right to swap picks in 2017 if Brooklyn’s pick is better than Boston’s. [Read more…]

Why The Trade Made A Lot of Sense for the Celtics (and the Nets)

By Thornton Mountford
PSDC Writer

That. Just. Happened. To recap: The C’s began the full throttle rebuilding by trading KG and Pierce to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries’ expiring contract, Kris Joseph (reunited with Fab…. again! And just in time for Summer League!), MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and the Nets first-round picks in ‘14, ‘16 and ‘18 (with an option to swap picks in ‘17).

That was exhausting to type.

As a Celtics fan who is very emotionally connected to the team (and by extension The Captain) and ridiculously bias, this was my emotional reaction: http://nooooooooooooooo.com/

Also this:

[Read more…]

Twitter Recap: The Night With All The Game Sixes (Part I)

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man 

Last night the NBA had four different Game 6’s in a five-hour span. I was in attendance for the Grizzlies/Clippers, if the rest of the Game 6’s were as loud and crazy as that one, the viewing public at home had a great night. Let’s take a look at the action from last night through the eyes of Twitter.

The first two games are Indiana at Atlanta and New York at Boston

Boston Celtics Blowing It Up and Other NBA Trades

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man 

On Sunday afternoon, the Boston Celtics announced that their All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo, would miss the rest of the season due to a torn ACL. This is a huge blow to a team that had high hopes for the playoffs.

Now, it remains to be seen why the Celtics had high hopes. Boston is holding onto the eighth spot in the East, and will probably continue to be eighth unless Andrew Bynum comes back and lights a fire in Philadelphia, in which case Boston would miss the playoffs. With the Celtics being three games behind Milwaukee for the seventh spot, chances of them getting higher than eight are pretty slim. So, if you are resigned to the fact that you are going to be the eighth best team in the East, you have to realize your first-round opponent will be Miami. The Celtics played an inspired game without their best player and beat Miami on Sunday, but Miami is floating through the regular season and waiting for the playoffs start to turn up the heat. (See what I did there?) There is no way that Boston would beat Miami in the playoffs, with or without Rondo. [Read more…]

Boston Celtics: 2012 Summer League Roster

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Contributor 

The Celtics have a veteran team that is trying to make one last run at a championship.  They have two first-round draft picks from this year’s draft, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, as well as second-round pick Kris Joseph playing in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Boston acquired Jason Terry this offseason and spent all their draft picks on the frontcourt, so there isn’t one particular position that this team needs help in.  They are looking for one or two more roster spots, depending on if they keep Greg Stiemsma, so there are spots to be had.

Check out the complete roster: [Read more…]

Could Boston’s ‘Big Three’ Make One Last Run?

By Bobby Roberts
PS.com Staff

The Boston Celtics had a nice five-year run with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce leading the team. They won a championship and had three other deep runs in the NBA playoffs.

Boston lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and fans heard the team’s death rattle. Garnett and Allen are free agents this summer and even Pierce’s future in Boston is questionable.

Rumors are swirling about what GM Danny Ainge will do this off-season. Could he blow the team up and rebuild around Rajon Rondo or sign Allen and Garnett for one last run? The duo will have plenty of suitors, but would they give Boston a hometown discount?

[Read more…]

Heat Handle Celtics, Move on to Finals

By Anthony Wright
PSDC Contributor 

Game 7 lived up to the billing, the Celtics and Heat showed why this series went as long as it did.  Boston stormed out against the Heat, countering any scoring run. In a close game with waning minutes, my money is on the Celtics.  In the fourth quarter, the two teams were toe-to-toe.  Miami was winning by four with six minutes to go when LeBron James rained a three-pointer from Akron.  After a couple of and-ones from Dwyane Wade and James, the game was over.  The Heat were jumpstarted by Shane Battier and his four three-pointers.  James, Wade and Chris Bosh made the Heat’s final 31 points, finishing off the Celtics.  [Read more…]