The Hawks appear intent to move Josh Smith not so much because of anything he’s done, but more likely because of what Marvin Williams hasn’t done, which is much of anything.Â They clearly can’t trade him to one of their peers in the east because he’d terrorize them 3-4 times a year plus the playoffs.Â So the only way Atlanta can save face is find a way to move him out west.Â Unfortunately most western conference teams are set at the 4.Â Thus the Hawks can either trade Smith to a team like Orlando where he can team up with Dwight Howard and dominate the southeastern conference, or insult the Mavs with a Smith for Dirk Nowitzki trade offer..
Ok, the outlook isn’t that bleak for Atlanta.Â What if the Hawks called New Orleans with the following offer:
Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia for Emeka Okafor and Jarrett Jack.
In Smith the Hornets get an athletic power forward that could team up with Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza to make them a terror on the break.Â With Paul at the 1, Smith might never have to put the ball on the floor ever again to get open.Â Pachulia is a throw in because New Orleans will need someone to play center.
And for the Hawks, Okafor gives them their first real center since the Mutombo years and allows Al Horford to play his natural PF position.Â If they re-sign Jamal Crawford, a Jack/Hinrich-Crawford-Johnson-Horford-Okafor unit would be a very formidable group in the southeast conference.Â Jack will either provide an insurance policy in case Hinrich gets hurt, or supplant him in the starting lineup.
Neither team takes on any particularly onerous contracts and since all the players are already proven vets, both sides know precisely what they’d be getting in this deal.
Yesterday Marc Berman of the New York Post warned the New York Knicks to learn from the Miami Heatâ€™s loss in the finals and not pursue Chris Paul. Bermanâ€™s take (with support from ousted President/ General Manager Donnie Walsh) is that the â€œ3 star blueprintâ€ does not work and the Knicks money would be better spent on acquiring role players.
First, let all of us â€“ fans, media and everyone in between, gain a little perspective. The Miami Heat were two wins from winning an NBA title despite being out coached, losing Dwayne Wade for a significant portion of game four and uncharacteristically missing free throws at an alarming rate in game six. The average margin of victory during the finals was 5 points. To say that Dallas â€œoverwhelmedâ€ Miami, as Berman states, is just false. Take nothing away from the Mavericks, they played excellent and earned the title. But this idea that the Miami big three are â€œfailuresâ€ is absurd.
As for how the Knicks should approach building their team into a true title contender, my belief is, more talent is always better than less talent. Take it from a Knicks fan of 25 years. It would have been great if the Knicks had another star or two when losing to Bulls all those years. More stars players would have helped the Knicks in the 1993/94 NBA Finals against Houston. And I’m sure that Jared Jeffries to Bill Walker exchange at the end of game 2 in the series against Boston this year was a great example for why a team shouldn’t have more talent.
Role players didnâ€™t cut it when the Knicks lost to the Spurs in the 1998/99 Finals. Iâ€™m not discounting the importance of supporting players. â€œFill in the blanksâ€ guys as Donnie Walsh calls them, have value. All teams need role players, and from Anthony Mason, to David Lee, the Knicks have never had a problem finding them. (In related news, the Knicks havenâ€™t won a title in over 30 years.)
So if the Knicks can some how get Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Chris Paul, I say do it. Because I’ve seen them try to win championships the other way, and it doesn’t work.
The New York Times recently lent their documentary acumen to the art/genealogy of the crossover dribble. The crossover is one of the most beautiful moves in basketball if not all of sport. Growing up, my friends and I used to call it the little man’s version of a dunk because if executed well, it could be just as demoralizing to an opponent.
Video has done wonders for the crossover and not only because it gives aspiring ballers more time to study this move, but moreso because it has fostered an archive of footage of players getting their ankles broken. In some senses then, the video is the crossover’s version of a poster, and this NYT piece is a fine tribute to both art forms.
If I could offer one critique, why did they choose Dwyane Wade over Chris Paul as the contemporary master of the crossover? Paul is a maestro with the basketball and his crossover is hands down the best in the league at the moment.
This year’s NBA playoffs have been a revelation.Â Whether it’s the nail biters between Chicago and Indiana, Chris Paul’s mesmerizing performances against Los Angeles, or Denver gutting out a victory over OKC, NBA fans can all attest that we’re getting our money’s worth this season.Â With so many teams playing better (or worse) than expected it’s hard to choose just one, but still we gotta ask, which team do you think has been the biggest surprise thus far: