With the first round of the NBA Playoffs nearing an end, here are my five thoughts for the week.
1. Sacramento/Seattle relocation: With an NBA owners committee recommending that the Kings stay in Sacramento where does this leave the Seattle ownership group?
My gut feeling is that NBA owners will vote unanimously to keep the Kings in Sac-Town when the vote takes place in a few weeks, when that occurs Seattle can try to make a run at another vulnerable NBA Franchise and there are some that exist.
I go back to my proposal a few months ago that would see each of the 30 NBA rosters cut by 1-2 spots from 15 to 14 or even 13. That's 30/60 players looking for a place to play. Add two teams in the Pacific Northwest - Seattle, and you know what I'm going to say next...Vancouver.
If Francesco Aquilini (Vancouver Canucks owner) is ever going to have an opportunity to fill 45 + dates in his building and bring the NBA back to Vancouver, this might be a good time to pitch that. Unfortunately, the idea has been met publicly in a lukewarm fashion from Aquilini yet things change fast if opportunities present themselves. If the current Grizzlies squad was in Vancouver and not Memphis, I guarantee you that the Vancouver region would be overwhelmingly supportive of the team.
The ownership and management the last time around was a disaster, and that was the issue. Basketball works in Vancouver if run properly. Do I think this is a 'pie in the sky' proposal on my Part? YES it is, but if you don't think out of the box and take chances many times nothing gets done. Would this dilute the talent level in the NBA? Yes. But in my opinion only temporarily.
Teams would raid many of the overseas teams for their top talent and you would see it come back quickly. Will it happen? Doubt it, but good to dream. Yeah, I'm probably nuts and it's wishful thinking but believe me both of these cities would add a lot to the NBA and not hurt it that's for sure.
2. Jason Collins: His announcement this week was a big one yet a few days later, it's back to the business of talking about the games. I think it's a sign of the times that it's more accepted and just another story a few days after the announcement. The NBA has been out front of this issue for a long time and has definitely spoken out in a progressive way for this cause. I see no major issues for Collins if he decides to play a 13th Year and beyond in the NBA.
He's a respected guy who if you ask any coach, executive or player in the league has been a good team guy throughout his career. He'll get overwhelming support around the league. As he should.
3. Mike Conley (Grizzlies): A nice steady performance on Tuesday vs. the Clippers with 20 points & 6 assists. He continues to improve his game and plays with great poise. Is he as good as Chris Paul? Of course, Not. Yet he holds his own and does a nice job running his team, setting the tone defensively and being the fundamentally sound/high percentage type point guard that coaches love. The organization went all-in on him and it's paid off for him and them. Like him.
4. Mark Jackson (Warriors): I watched Game 5 Tuesday and I didn't see the 'dirty' play he alleges the Nuggets used on Steph Curry. This is the playoffs and the intensity gets ramped up big-time and Jackson knows that all too well from his successful playing days.
I totally understand and respect what he's doing though. He's trying to set the officials up to call a 'tighter' whistle in game 6 and maybe even Game 7. That favors his team and their style of play without David Lee in the lineup. Jackson needs flow and quick play to win and can't allow his skilled players to get bodied a bit too much and get slowed down. The job of the coach is to take the heat for his players and play the mind games with the opponents and more importantly, the referees.
It's worth a shot if he can get the personality of the game to fit his team's strengths.
5. Kirk Hinrich (Bulls): What a difference with him out of the lineup in Game 5 vs. Brooklyn. He is a terrific defender and leader and he makes Deron Williams work for everything he gets. He's their 'glue guy' with Derrick Rose out.
The Bulls better hope/pray he's able to play either Game 6 or 7 for them or this series could swing right back again in favor of the Nets.
You can forget his numbers, he's your classic 'winning player' who makes the right plays in big games and is in the right spots. You can trust him to rise to the challenge of the pressurized environment. Bulls need his steady hand in the mix to close the deal.