HOOPSWORLD Week in Review
Only Players Can Save The NBA
By Stephen Brotherston
NBA players need to take their collective heads out of the sand and start sending a quiet S.O.S. (Save Our Season) to union executive Billy Hunter.
NBA player association representatives (“NBAPA”) seem to believe that they are in the posturing phase of negotiations and any real proposals they put forward will only be used against them once the real negotiating sessions start after league revenues are at risk. The NBAPA is wrong.
From the fans perspective, the worst thing that could have happened was the players getting their eight percent holdback money returned to them this year. Combining the return of holdback funds with the surprising financial planning of many NBA players to survive a lockout and the coming season looks lost long before training camps are even scheduled to open.
Regional Meetings Keeping Players Informed
By Alex Kennedy
The NBA’s owners and players have yet to schedule a second post-lockout bargaining session, but the National Basketball Players Association has been busy holding meetings of their own in recent weeks.
In an attempt to keep their players and agents up-to-date on the labor talks, the union has scheduled regional meetings across the country. The first two meetings, in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, were held this week and the remaining meetings are expected to take place in Houston, Chicago and Boston, according to sources close to the situation.
Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBPA, has been running the meetings alongside the union’s president Derek Fisher and vice presidents Maurice Evans and Etan Thomas. The meetings are designed to inform the players of the situation at hand and educate them on the complex issues being discussed.
Top 5 All-Time Atlanta Hawks
By Joel Brigham
Because it looks like we’re going to have plenty of time on our hands, I’ve decided to evolve my weekly Top 5 into something pretty consistent for the next several (30) weeks, taking a look at the top players from every franchise’s history.
This is probably going to spark a lot of debate, and I’m game for that. Hey, what else do we have going on in our lives right now?
As far as criteria is concerned, we’re looking at a number of things—championships, personal accolades, attachment to the community, and loads more—to try and determine who were the best players for each organization, ever.
I should note that, despite the fact that Hakeem Olajuwon was great and will undoubtedly be on the Houston list, he won’t be appearing on the Raptors list even though he’s probably the single greatest player to ever don that jersey. It’s about what they accomplished while they were there, not how great they were overall.
This week we’ll start with the Atlanta Hawks, since they’re the first franchise alphabetically, and we’ll eventually work our way through to the Washington Wizards.
The Next Power Teams-West
By Eric Pincus
For much of the last decade, the Western Conference has been ruled the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks.
The Lakers have been to the NBA Finals seven times since the year 2000 with five titles in that stretch. The Spurs won all four of their appearances dating back to 1999. The Mavericks are the current champs after avenging their 2006 NBA Finals loss to the Miami HEAT.
That’s 13 years and just three power teams representing the West each and every postseason.
Times change. Tim Duncan is heading into the last year of his contract and Manu Ginobili has said he’s got two years left in him.
The Lakers, who were swept out of the postseason by the Mavs, looked old and slow. Will Coach Phil Jackson’s retirement weigh heavy on the team or can replacement Mike Brown carry on where Phil left off?
The Next Power Teams-East
By Eric Pincus
While the Western Conference has been dominated by just three teams since 1999 (The Next Power Teams – West), the Eastern Conference has continuously evolved. The Miami HEAT have two appearances in the NBA Finals, just recently losing to the Dallas Mavericks. The New Jersey Nets went twice but that was when they were led by Jason Kidd and now he’s in Dallas.
Of course the Boston Celtics have their two visits to the Finals, both against the Los Angeles Lakers with one title to show for it. The Detroit Pistons also beat the Lakers back in 2004 but lost the following year to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks each made one visit to the Finals, making the count nine different teams in 13 years as opposed to the West’s three.
Coach’s Notebook: Offseason Prep & Lockout Contingencies
By Anthony Macri
In a normal offseason, next week would typically mark the time when players would start to return to the gym in earnest to begin preparations for preseason training camps. Preseason game scheduled have been released, most teams would have told players expectations on dates to report to camp, and players would be finishing their roughly month-long vacation to refocus on their careers.
But, as you may have heard, this is no normal offseason. Instead, teams and players cannot communicate, and no one knows exactly when players will be able to report. However, players should still be starting to get into preparation mode – smart professionals will want to be ready to go in case the lockout is resolved sooner rather than later. With the timing in flux, how do smart professionals best equip themselves to be in game shape and ready for game speed action when the season finally does start?
Having a fitness and basketball preparedness plan is critical. Central to any plan is real flexibility – the ability to adapt to potential changes as they occur must be a top priority. Players should still be targeting a return to their training regimen for the last week or so of August – starting, say, this coming Monday. The next two weeks should be spent reforming a foundation for athletic success.