You want to know why the East is so much worse than the West? Dumb front office moves.
I don’t know what possesses GM’s to hold onto players that can help the team be “OK.” I know… I know… a playoff team puts butts in seats and keeps some level of interest. But I’m sure fans would rather just suffer through a crappy year if there’s hope for the future (see Sonics, Seattle). Have some balls, make a move, and go for it.
So its with great happiness that I declare the New Jersey Nets… who gave Vince Carter $66 million over the summer (and up to $80 overall)… and watched their mediocre team shockingly stay mediocre. By the time they grew a pair and traded Kidd… it was too late.
The Nets have lost 3 straight… while Atlanta has won 4 straight… and the Hawks have taken a 3 game lead with 8 games to play. The Nets finish up with Detroit, the C’s, Toronto twice, Cleveland… with Charlotte and Milwaukee in there as games they could win. The Hawks have Philly twice, Indiana, New York, Miami… with Toronto and the C’s pegged as probable losses. Atlanta is in.
And guess what that means: My master plan is right on schedule. Next 5 games are just like a “Playoff Preseason”. Mix up lineups… limit minutes… get Sam Cassell some solid minutes… blah blah blah (you’ve heard it all before).
Then… for the last 3 games… you go back to normal. Starters play full minutes, get their wind and rhythm in order…. the second unit figures out what its role is going to be… and you go into the playoffs roaring. First up in that 3 game stretch: Atlanta (followed by New York and New Jersey). That means the next real meaningful game won’t be played until April 12th
Herald: Sloppy C’s sidestep Bulls | Animated discussion | Powe fights hard for PT | Globe: Celtics keep firing | Bull’s eyes on their back | Souza: Cassell willing to wait for his chance | Philly Daily News: Walsh to Knicks? | Chicago Daily Herald: C’s on cruise control | ESPN: Best players under 23 (Rondo got 1 wild card vote)