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Weekly Musings: The Final Games Of The Finals

Uh oh, the Mavericks let the Heat back in it.  And I don?t want to hear anything about the officials, hit your damn foul shots and it won?t matter.

? What I learned this week:

- It?s much easier to knock Shaq down if you have the ball.

- Does anyone believe Mark Cuban owned a Stackhouse jersey before Jerry was suspended?

- Is it Dwyane Wade time yet? I guess so. 42 and 15 in the 4th is about right.  Follow that up with 36 in Game 4 and 43 in Game 4 and he?s at 40 ppg in the last 3.  And yes, that is Jordan-esque.

- Games in Dallas are being played in American Airlines Center.  Games in Miami tip-off in American Airlines Arena.  Wasn?t American supposed to be going out of business?

- Jason Terry is going to be a UFA at the end of this series and if Cuban thought Nash was over-priced (cue the Judas Priest) he?s got another thing coming.  Avery and Co. may think they can finally make a PG out of Devin Harris. And JT will be right back in Atlanta.

? Hey, didn?t you used to be the new and improved MVP-like Dirk Nowitzki?

? Quote of the Week: Josh Howard, reacting to a reporter asking him about the unintentional timeout call that effectively ended Game 5 for the Mavs. ?What am I saying to you right now, dog? Please, don't come off on me right now because I'm going to come off on you, and I'm not in a great mood right now. Get out of my face, man. Get out of my face.?  Josh Howard?s timeout was just the end of a long 4th Q for JH.  He missed 2 FT?s with :58 remaining and scored just 2 pts and grabbed 2 boards in the decisive quarter.  

? So the Mavericks finally got 35 from Jason Terry AND 20 from Dirk and JH.  They still lost.  Reason #3: no one can defend Dwyane Wade.  Not on the drive, not on the step-back, not in the open court on in the half court sets. Dallas is finally starting to show their lack of experience in HUGE games with GIGANTIC moments that define teams and players.  Next year is Dallas? year, but too many breaks have gone against them already.  

? Trade of the Week: Take your pick, Jermaine and Tinsley to Toronto for Villanueva or the #1 overall.  KG to Chicago for their two #1?s.  KG to Sac-town for Big Brad, Bonzi and KT.  Lamar to Chicago for Brandon Roy @ #2.  It?s going to be wild this week.  I personally expect to see Ricky Davis moving yet again, maybe to a team like Sacramento.

? So, a judge in Florida has ordered that Miami heat ?ber star Dwyane Wade must change his name b/c of a ruling in the suit filed by actor Kadeem Hardison, who played Dwayne Wayne on CBS?s sitcom A Different World about a hundred years ago.  This is just insane.  What?s next, asking Jason Williams to change his name because Jayson Williams wants to write a book about shooting someone in the face?  Hardison claims that with Wade being such a superstar he isn?t able to capitalize on the almost famous character he once played on television.  This, Hardison says, is affecting his earning potential.   The fact remains that Dwyane Wade is a real human, maybe even superhuman.  Dwayne Wayne is come cross-colours wearing pseudo intellectual character.  If Hardison knows his worth, he?d walk around pretending to be his character from White Men Can?t Jump, now that was a money-maker.  

(Editor?s note: Kevin Casini has been fooled by Buster Gunning?s fictional satire?)

? This Just In: Some people in the Raptors organization think they ought to trade Charlie Villanueva for Mo Williams and Toronto native Jamal Magloire, thus solving their big-man and guard problems.  Then they can take their pick and parlay it into a replacement for CV, who would be headed to Milwaukee. Mark me down for calling that one a big mistake.

? So now Michael Jordan is co-owner and de facto El Presidente in Charlotte.  This certainly could affect their draft strategy and move them in the direction of a more proven and ready to play backcourt player.  Why did Bob Johnson bother with this, he doesn?t need investors?  Simple, the opportunity to be linked to Jordan is too good to pass up.  MJ has been interested in ownership for a while now and saw that it wasn?t going to happen anytime soon so he took the next best thing.  But what makes him a good President/GM?  There is nothing in his past to suggest he?ll succeed at this, most glaringly the Kwame Brown selection of 2001.  In fact, aside from Joe Dumars, very few former NBA stars have bene able to put together a winner. Consider: Danny Ainge, Kevin McHale, Wes Unseld, Jordan?s Wizards, and  Larry Bird.  Mediocre at best.  Miserable at worst.  My bet is Jordan doesn?t do much good for Charlotte.

? Mark My Words: Heat in 7. Still.  

Tune in again next week for Mock Draft 2.0 and a look ahead to Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Finals.  And feel free to email at kevincasini@hotmail.com

Weekly Musings: Mock Draft

Weekly Musings waited a little longer than others to roll out our Mock Draft, and we?re only hitting the lotto, basically because the rest is a crap shoot. Remember, Ryan Gomes went in the 2nd round last year and Rafael Araujo went top 8 in 2004. Here goes.

1. Toronto: I still think they take Andrea Bargnani, but not at 1. Look for the Raps to trade down (possibly with Atlanta?) and take the Euro Star. Could they be in on a Jermaine O?Neal or Al Harrington deal?

2. Chicago: The Bulls, and I, were high on LaMarcus Aldridge but things change and Tyrus Thomas is too good.  Ask any coach and if two guys are of even talent he?ll always take the one who hasn?t been coached up yet.  That said, these two are not of even heart. Don?t believe the Brandon Roy stuff, this is just to get teams to think of moving up.  

3. Charlotte: Rudy Gay, plain and simple.  Bickerstaff is on record as saying he?s not sure how Adam Morrison will translate to the pros, and B2 doesn?t mince words or throw smoke screens.

4. Portland: I?m hearing more and more things about them going another way, but I think in the end Nate McMillan gets his way and the Blazers will get Washington star Brandon Roy.  Seattle would LOVE to move here and snag him though.  That?d be just the thing to get Sonics fans to show up again.

5. Atlanta: Ok, so now we?re at 5 and Marcus Williams, Adam Morrison nor LaMarcus Aldridge are all on the board.  Billy Knight has been quoted as saying that he?ll take the best player available and let the coach figure it out, but everyone seems to think the Hawks need a true PG.  He?s such an idiot he has yet to work out any of the Top 6 players.  I say he takes Aldridge and shows Jason Terry the money. That?s if he doesn?t shock everyone and take Patrick O?Bryant #1 overall.  

6. Minnesota: Hmm. Need a PG. Must...take?point?guard.  Psyche. Adam Morrison goes to the shooter-happy Kevin McHale and the Wolves make a draft-day trade involving Ricky Davis.

7. Boston: Finally, the ?Moment I?ve Been Waiting For? since that triple OT loss to the 36 and 46ers. The Magic really REALLY want to move up and this just might be the highest they can get. If someone they want is available (Roy, Morrison, Gay) they?ll do it for sure, and the Celtics can grab a 2nd round pick or Carlos Arroyo.  If not, the Celtics stick here and pick Rajon Rondo, a guy they could probably get at 11 anyway. Conventional wisdom says take Marcus Williams at 7, a proven commodity and a New England PG sure to make the annual pre-season tilt at Mohegan Sun a sellout.  UConn coach Jim Calhoun has strong Boston ties and anyone in the C?s front office could call Jimmy for help on this kid.  But I?m like that chick from Grease, wishin? and hopin? and prayin? and beggin? that Danny and Co. trade down to 11, pick up one more player or pick and take Rondo. I saw both Williams and Rondo play in the opening weekend of the NCAA?s and at 6?4? Rondo has the size, length and speed to play and contribute at both ends.  And I?m afraid Marcus Williams might rob the new Apple store. BTW, my feelings on this will change before I?m done writing this column.

8. Houston: Gosh, they need a lot, don?t they?  They can?t keep playing with dudes like Stro Swift and Juwan Howard banging next to Yao, but they can?t have gunners like David Wesley and Skip trying to run the point.  They might like to take Redick here, but that doesn?t really solve their problems, and Redick can?t defend anyone, something JVG won?t stand for (Just ask Steve Franchise).  O?Bryant would be interesting, but I think the fact that Marcus Williams is available is too much for JVG and Co. to pass up.

9. Golden State: now the Warriors are jumping with joy at the chance to get O?Bryant, and probably will make the selection rather quickly. Another oops for Mullin and Montgomery. That screeching sound? That?s B-Dizzle peeling out of his driveway on his way to Minnesota.

10. Seattle: A lot here depends on what the Sonics plan to do with free-agent to be Chris Wilcox, who showed great rebounding ability to match his athleticism after coming over in a trade from the Clips.  If they want to keep Wilcox, they can go small, if not, they can get Shelden Williams.

11. Orlando: Assuming the wing players the Magic wanted were not available, Orlando is content to sit back at 11 and let the rest of the lotto come to them.  Ronnie Brewer and Rodney Carney are interesting choices as they do need someone in the backcourt to pair with Jameer and someone (anyone) besides Dwight Howard to play some D.  I?m saying they like Carney for his freakish length and potential to shut down opposing wings.

12. New Orleans: The Hornets come in at 12 knowing they have another pick at 15 and have the potential to steal two players that can make big contributions next year.  Two guys I love for them are Uconn?s Hilton Armstrong and FSU?s Alexander Johnson.  Johnson may be a reach here but Hilton is not.  Or, they can always move into the Top 10 and do a 2-for-1 swap with a team like Golden State to get the 7? O?Bryant.

13. Philly: I defer to Special Ed on 76ers talk and he says they?re going big. If Armstrong is there, he may go.  Ditto O?Bryant or NC State?s Cedric Simmons, an absolute Theo Ratliff clone (but much cheaper.)  Here?s a vote for them moving down and nabbing another pick and Alexander Johnson, that guy keeps getting better.

14. Utah: They?d like nothing more than J.J. Redick to sell tickets to a fan base that has historically supported white players more than any other town this side of Boston.  But his recent DUI arrest has to have them thinking twice about upsetting the moral majority that loves this team.  Rumors of a failed physical can?t help either.  They?d also love a shot at a Hilton Armstrong but signs are pointing to them REALLY loving  7? Senegalese Center Mouhamed Saer Sene and his 7?8? wing span. And those are wings, dude. This could also go to gutsiest ball player in this draft, Randy Foye if the 76ers don?t nab him.

? NBA Draft, Part II: Movers and Shakers.  As I?ve said before this is one of the more unpredictable, and more entertaining, drafts in recent history.  We?ll put forth some of the things we think may go down.

- Guaranteed locks: Someone in my Top 5 will fall. May even be Brandon Roy. God I hope so.  Marcus Vinicius has the coolest name since Scientific Mapp.  A player who has been rumored to be shorter than listed, fatter than listed or of questionable work-ethic will get picked high.  Most likely b/c the team that picks him floated negative rumors to scare the others off.  That sucks.

- Solid possibilities: A team in the Top 10 will trade out of the 1st round altogether. A team with 2 #1?s will resist the urge to move up and will try to get two solid contributors.  Jermaine O?Neal and/or Ricky Davis will be traded. Josh Boone will get taken, probably by New York.  

-  Fat chance: J.J. Redick will be a lotto pick. Not after a recent DUI in Durham and a possible back injury keeping him out a few months.  A proven player like Shelden Williams will go before a 7? project like Patrick O?Bryant. That?s a shame.

- Mark my words: Some 7? Euro dude will come out of the stands in a 9-button suit and shake hands with the Commissioner at the end of the 1st Round.  And Mr. Stern won?t be quite sure if it?s actually the guy that was just drafted.

Think you know better than me? Ha. HA!  If so, send mock drafts to Kevincasini@hotmail.com, Subject line mock draft.  You?ve got 2 weeks.

Weekly Musings: NBA Finals

Mavericks vs. Heat. Shaq vs. Dirk. Wade vs. Terry. Avery vs. Riley. Cuban vs. Cubans. It sets up to be a great series, guaranteed to be entertaining.

? What I learned this week:

- When he?s healthy and he wants to, Shaq can still be the best player in the game. 28 and 16, stick that in your pie-hole, haters.

- The Pistons pointing fingers at each other and Flip is un-Detroit like. But 4 straight Finals just wasn?t in the cards, no one ever does that anymore.

- Dwyane Wade is more than heroic. His Game 6 performance, while getting IV?s in the locker room, will go down as one of the gutsiest things ever done. But if the Pistons can?t keep Jason Williams form going 10-11, they?ll lose every time.

- I know one guy who?s not watching the NBA Finals: Kobe Bryant. This must be killing him.

? Raise your hand if you ever thought the following players would be in the NBA Finals: Antoine Walker, Erick Dampier, Keith Van Horn, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Williams, Jason Terry, or James Posey. Put your hand down Isiah.

? NBA Draft: It should be an interesting draft this year, with many of the top picks having about equal talent and projecting about the same as NBA prospects.  The Raptors have the #1 overall pick and new GM Bryan Colangelo really has some tough choices to make.  Many may not know this but before Colangelo joined his new team I Toronto he was in discussions with Maurizio Gherardini, who is the current GM for the Italian Club team Benetton Treviso, regarding joining the Raptors.  His star player there? Andrea Bargnani.  Don?t be surprised if they move down a few spots and take Bargnani as a Dirk-type guy to go with Bosh and CV.  That said, Villanueva may also be dealt with the pick for a stud player, Colangelo is NOT a rebuilder.

? Hey, didn?t you used to be High School Prep Stars?  Just kidding, we all know if Greg Oden came out this year he?d be #1 overall, just like last year.  And I?d personally draft Bill Walker and OJ Mayo. Don?t know what I?m talking about? Learn yourself, Isiah.

? This just in: Pat Riley is a heckuva coach in the NBA. He?s now taken his 3rd franchise to the NBA Finals and has adapted his style of coaching to each team?s strengths.  Who else could have possibly gone from LA?s Showtime to the Thugs of the Garden and come back a decade later with a roster of 1 Hall of Famer, 1 border line HOF?er, one legit superstar and a bunch of cast-offs, has-been?s and never-weres. Amazing.

? When Tim Thomas calls you the worst teammate ever, as he did Stephon Marbury this past week, you know you?re a scum bag.  T2 has been teammates with such notable jerks as Derrick Coleman and Jerry Stackhouse.  This guy has played with Glenn Robinson for Christ?s sake.  Stephon, this is your wake-up call.

? If Ben Wallace gets a max deal from the Pistons, or anyone else for that matter, I?m moving to France. That?s akin to giving a one-armed drummer a 3 album record deal.  This dude needs to wake up and realize he?s the latest Dennis Rodman, thought the Worm could score at times, and could hit fouls shots.  The mere breath of mention that this guy is a potential Hall of Famer makes me sick.  His defense wouldn?t be nearly as good with out Tayshaun and Chauncey playing tough up top.  And he did foul Shaquille, got him with the body.  Look at the replay.

? NBA Draft, Part II: The big winners in this year?s draft may be teams with more than one 1st Round pick (Suns, Bulls, Hornets, Nets, Blazers) and teams slotted somewhere from 5-10.  One of the top 5 teams is going to have to make a decision and someone like Brandon Roy, Tyrus Thomas or, more likely, Marcus Williams and Randy Foye, could fall into the lap of a better team.  We?ll get into a full-on mock draft / draft predictions next week.  

? Quote of the Week: Shaq comes through with a double-dip so priceless they both had to be included. After an interview on ESPN Radio with Dr. Jack Ramsay, Shaq reminds Dr. Jack to ?stay outta that Hooters, Dr. Jack. Stay outta that Hooters!? And when faced with a question form a female reporter regarding Ben Wallace?s stuff on him in Game 6 of the Easter Finals: ?That was a foul, young lady. Don?t ask stupid questions.? Who else but the Big Aristotle could get away with this?

? Mark my words: Heat in 7.  

Next week we?re going to do a special edition of the Musings focusing on the draft, where we?ll present a mock draft, proposed trades and the like.  I?ll also have my take on the opening games of the NBA Finals, featuring Shaquille O?Neal as Superman.  The Weekly Musings is hosting a contest for draftniks as well, make a mock lotto, send it in and the person with the most accurate draft wins my column for a week.  You tell me what to write about, and I?ll do it.  Warriors fans, this is your chance to get your team mentioned.  

Send them to Kevincasini@hotmail.com, Subject line mock draft.

Weekly Musings: Conference Finals

We?re into the Conference Finals after some of the best basketball games I never saw. 9:15 pm start in the Western Conference Finals? Why not just put them on OLN Channel 78? Oh, right, they?ve got hockey.

Weekly Musings - Playoffs ?06: Round 2

I can only assume Shaun Livingston read the Musings, because we no longer are waiting around for him. 14 Assists in the Round 1 clincher? Brilliant. I?m drafting him now for next year?s fantasy league. Too bad he shoots like the drummer from Def Leppard. This and more from Special Ed.

The Triumphant Return Of Weekly Musings

After months of whirlwind travel, the Musings is back with a vengeance to scour the NBA for tidbits of delight. The playoffs are in full swing, but I?m just not feeling it this time around. Does anyone else feel like the postseason is already determined?

The Cleveland LeBrons, The Iverson Omission And More In Weekly Musings

The Cleveland LeBrons are in a free fall, losing 5 in a row and 7 of their last 10. Peeps in Cleveland have even taken to booing LBJ. This is not good. Meanwhile, leaving Allen Iverson off of Team USA?s Olympic and World?s roster is a disgrace, plain and simple.

Backlash From Toronto And Players Moving In Weekly Musings

Al Harrington, Earl Watson, Tim Thomas, Penny Hardaway and Flip Murray... are these the All-Star reserves? No, they are the players most likely to be moved before the trade deadline. Where they're going and the feedback from RealGM's Toronto sector.

The White Men Can't Jump Trade And A Rose Trade In Weekly Musings

Vince is day-to-day, Kobe is in a slump and Wally's in Boston. Who would have guessed it? Now that Artest is in Sac-Town and we don't have to hear about him until he does a Sprewell on Adelman, we can get to some more interesting stories.

New Year's Edition Of Weekly Musings

We?re giving away New Year?s Resolutions this week, since I?ve never known an NBA player to make a change for the better without being court-mandated first.

Walsh, Harrington And Blindfolded Shooters In Weekly Musings

After a few weeks of family, holidays and turkey, the Musings is back to 100% and ready to take the court. Here?s an abridged version of what we?ve missed, with more Holiday Musings to come.

Artest, Oden And Toronto In Weekly Musings

A weird week in the NBA, for sure. The Hawks beat the Spurs, the Jazz beat the Pistons and the Hornets beat the Suns. Chris Webber played defense and Dan Gadzuric scored! What?s going on in the league this week? We?ll try to decipher the strange from the irregular in this week?s trip around the NBA.

The Plight Of The Atlantic And The Sonics In Weekly Musings

After catching heat for implying that Yao was soft, Kevin Casini returns with declaring the Atalntic Division is one of the worst divisions in sports history and that Nate McMillan's absence in Seattle is the true cause of their slow start.

Yao, Vlad And Smush In Weekly Musings

Welcome to the newest installment of the Weekly Musings, an entertaining look back at the week that was in the NBA. We dish dirt and dimes, all the while providing unsolicited opinions and completely unsubstantiated claims. It?s journalism at its finest. Let?s get out on the break!

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