NBA Twitter Mailbag: Sleepers, Replacement Refs and Comebacks
BHOGUE34: Who is the sleeper team this season?
I'll give you two, one in each conference: the L.A. Clippers in the West and the Toronto Raptors in the East.
The Clippers have had a nice offseason, drafting Blake Griffin and unloading Zach Randolph. Now, all they need is for Baron Davis to have the kind of season he had in Golden State two years ago or like he had a few years before that in New Orleans.
If Davis and coach Mike Dunleavy can come to some kind of understanding and find some kind of common ground in terms of style of play, the Clippers should battle for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
I like what the Raptors have done. They might have overpaid a little for both Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani (whom they re-signed), but that doesn't mean they weren't solid basketball decisions.
Chris Bosh, Bargnani and Turkoglu make up a versatile front line, and they have one of the best decision-making point guards in the league, Jose Calderon, to put it all together.
Philysstar: We really need some insight on the NBA refs issue. How far apart are they? Is Plan B (replacements) going to work?
These posts should catch you up:
Official: 'Ref Lockout Unavoidable.'
Shaq Backs NBA Refs in Contract Talks;
Fear the Replacement Refs
Now, my two cents ... You know that old saying "Be careful what you wish for?" Well, I'm thinking that's going to be the case with this officiating thing. It's simple and convenient to rip the NBA officials, particularly with the Tim Donaghy issue still on the periphery. But the fact is that NBA officials are among the best in all of professional sports, and if anything we need tinkering and not an overhaul.
You bring in replacement refs, guys who don't know the league, don't know the players, don't know the coaches, and you're asking for trouble. There is no doubt the league is using the economy and the threat of a player lockout in two years to bully NBA officials at this point.
As far as replacement refs go, it's pretty simple: Go ahead and use them; the product will suffer.
Leonard2o: Is Greg Ostertag seriously considering a comeback?
That's what he said three months ago after playing in a scrimmage at Kansas, his alma mater. Bottom line is Ostertag went 1-for-6 from the field in that game, so whether or not he wants to make a comeback isn't really relevant. What is relevant is that nobody's going to take a shot at a 36-year old center who hasn't played in a while and didn't exactly have a raging inner fire when he did play.
clifftx: Michael Jordan gave a great speech. I loved it from beginning to end.
I don't mind statements rather than questions, especially when I agree with them. This one gives me an opportunity to piggy back. I'm with you. I think some of the over-the-top criticism regarding Jordan's speech was just that ... over the top.
One of the things that has stuck out to me over the years of covering the NBA is just how ruthless players are to each other regarding trash-talking. In fact, trash talking doesn't wholly describe all the give-and-take between players, whether it's on the court, in the locker room or anywhere, quite frankly.
It can be relentless and vicious and it is a way NBA players can weed out the weaker players. And it's more than simple banter, too. It's guys who play the verbal game as competitively as they play the real game.
What Jordan did last Friday during his induction speech was no different than what he did -- and what plenty of players do -- during his playing career. The players, themselves, didn't expect anything different. And the media shouldn't have either.