Thursday, May 1, 2008

News and notes

* Take a look at the Suns roster. Now, name the one guy on that roster who has the length and foot speed to slow Tony Parker. No, it's not Boris Diaw. (I said foot speed). Give up? The answer is D.J. Strawberry, who made it to the NBA because of one skill: on-the-ball perimeter defense. I realize he only played 272 minutes his entire rookie season, but don't you think that as Parker went for 26, 32, 41 and 31 in the Spurs' four victories D'Antoni could have given Strawberry a shot? The results could not have been any worse. And at best, the teams might still be playing.

* The Sonics announced Thursday that P.J. Carlesimo would return as coach. I don't think P.J.'s the best coach in the world, but he isn't the worst either. And two years of coaching continuity can only help in Seattle, where just about everything else is uncertain and in disarray. This should be good for Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, really the only two players on the current roster that are part of the rebuilding process. I am curious, however, if this move is a signal that Clay Bennett believes his chances are slim of getting to Oklahoma City before the 2010-2011 season. I think Bennett loses the June court case, and if the city holds a firm "no" on his buyout proposal, the Sonics have two more lame-duck years in Seattle. Let Carlesimo, who has held a company political stance thus far, ride out these two years. With a better team, Bennett could then go high-profile for year one in OKC.

* The players acquired through mid-season trades might not be worse, but this Cavs team is worse than the unit that reached the NBA Finals last year. They aren't as tough or cohesive. Washington, their first-round opponent for third year in a row, meanwhile, is better. That combination is making for a tough series. Still, LeBron James is the by far the best player on the floor in this matchup and he HAS to get Cleveland through. This should be his MJ vs. the Cavs in 1989, although hopefully he doesn't need the final shot in the loser-go-home game.