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MAMBINO 2014 NBA Mock Draft

The time is upon us once again MAMBINites: the NBA Draft, a haven for hoophead nerds everywhere, is finally here.
This particular year’s edition has been through all sorts of permutations–once called the greatest draft since 2003, expectations have since been tapered. Bloggers and writers projected no less than five franchise-caliber superstars coming into the NBA this June, but as the NCAA season wore on, it was apparent that this wasn’t going to be the epic class we thought.
Nevertheless, the MAMBINO crew is just as jakked up for this year’s annual rite of passage as we ever are. This draft may not have a James-Wade-Anthony-Bosh-type cache, but it is certainly filled with difference makers and All-Stars. We’ve racked up our selections for lottery picks 1-14, giving you a solid profile of what WE think Thursday’s event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn will look like.
Full disclosure: we wrote this one up a week ago, but Joel Embiid’s foot injury threw our entire post into disarray. In many ways, this is the MAMBINO 2014 NBA Mock Draft 2.0, but we’re proceeding in this new and daring world where a 7-footer has foot and back problems. New AND daring!
With the 1st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Jabari Parker from Duke University
El Miz: The Joel Embiid njury should change nothing. If I was the GM of the Cavs and my boss was not Dan G, then Embiid would be the pick. I’ll roll the dice on the injury Wheel of Fortune for the player with the most upside by far in the draft. But Dan G does not want an injured center who may not play until the calendar turns to 2015. Dan G wants to win and win soon, and “he is sick of winning the lottery”! He makes this clear, banging out late night e-mails in Sans Serif asking “who will win rookie of the year, please advise” and “do any of these guys have asthma, please advise.”… Read more...

Trade Analysis: Derek Fisher to the New York Knicks

New York Knicks get: head coach Derek Fisher
KOBEsh: It’s official. Derek Fisher is now not only an ex-NBA player, but the head coach of YOUR….New York Knicks.
Much like the Jason Kidd signing last offseason, Fisher’s hire moved from sheer speculation to recorded fact rather quickly and within weeks of his last game as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kidd’s first season surely wasn’t a disaster, as he coached the imperfect and injury-riddled Brooklyn Nets to 44 wins, but it certainly wasn’t perHITMEfect. It’s clear that Kidd isn’t completely ready for the responsibilities as a head coach and has a ton of room to grow, but at the same time was able to organize a solid defense from an old, unathletic team of vets. Offensively, it’s hard to say whether or not the team was hampered by Deron Williams’s ankles, KG’s declining skill set or the fact that their scoring schemes just weren’t that great to begin with.
Either way, with a team just across the East river, there’s an obvious precedent for how good Derek Fisher’s first season should be. Is this a better hire than Kidd? And what should be the baseline for a “successful” season?
BockerKnocker: Based on only what we know now, this is not a better hire than Kidd. The Brooklyn Nets hired their #1 choice in the former All-Star point guard, while Phil Jackson’s #1 choice gets the privilege to coach Stephen Curry. We have to assume that Phil wanted Kerr more than Fisher, for reasons that don’t truly matter, because Fisher was New York’s #2 option.… Read more...

Trade Analysis: Phil Jackson to the New York Knicks

New York Knicks get: President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson for five years, $60 million
Bockerknocker: Nobody needs to explain the current state of the New York Knicks. Similarly, nobody needs to explain that the hiring of Phil Jackson to run the basketball operations of a once-proud franchise is a good move. What this really means, however, is that owner James Dolan must be Straight-Shot scared that his good buddy Carmelo Anthony will really leave for greener pastures this offseason.
We’ve seen this tired act of “autonomy” given by Dolan before. Former wheelchair-bound general manager Donnie Walsh was given the directive of getting the Knicks out of the hole that Isiah Thomas continued to dig even after his ouster. But remember when Walsh was ready to pass on sending young players and quality draft picks to Denver for Anthony, knowing that the ready-to-leave superstar would sign in free agency? Dolan stepped in, mortgaged the future for a “me first” player, and autonomy was vanquished.
Jackson comes to the Apple with a much richer caché, of course, and is far more likely to hold Dolan to his word. But before he arrived, I, for one, assumed Anthony would stay for the money and for the ability to choose his next coach. Now, Jackson won’t allow that, and all the championship rings in the world won’t be able to convince Anthony that he should waste one of the final years of his prime in the hopes that Jackson will reload for 2016.
If Anthony does stay, it will be a testament to the team-first character of which Jackson believes is within Anthony, based on the role Anthony played on Team USA. It will also justify the hire without regard to whatever happens next. But one thing must be clear: the Bockers are still a 2016 team, at best. There is no amount of Zen that can change that.
KOBEsh: I only disagree on a couple of points, but overall, I’m completely with you—this was a solid, though unspectacular signing for the Knicks. … Read more...

Trade Analysis: Masahiro Tanaka to the New York Yankees

New York Yankees get: SP Masahiro Tanaka on a seven year, $155 million dollar deal
The long Masahiro Tanaka courtship ended today, with the Bronx Bombers coming away with his services. New York pried him away from his Japan League club with, what else? The biggest free agent contract ever given to a right-handed pitcher (also the allure of the New York Yankees most likely had something to do with it). The Bombers were just one of the big market teams vying for this unproven hurlers services, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox also submitting bids, along with smaller market teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Rockets getting in the scrum.
At the end of the entire process, the money and years seemed too enticing for Tanaka and his group to turn down, especially given that he can opt-out of his contract after the fourth year, making him a free agent yet again at the prime age of 29. Still, this is a massive pact for ANY player, let alone one that has never thrown a regular season pitch in MLB. I sent out an e-mail to fellow MAMBINO founder BockerKnocker to get his take on the signing.
BockerKnocker: Overall, I’m pretty happy with the deal.
From a business standpoint, it obviously would have been nicer to get under $189 million (the luxury tax threshold), especially since we don’t have to pay A-Fraud’s cap number now. But as a fan, I like that we offered Tanaka the most money, since most of our grumblings in the recent past had to do with killing the competitiveness of the team just to save on taxes. This shows that it’s not just about the taxes. We are at least under the presumption that spending will be smart but not cheap. (Key word is presumption, since Ellsbury and Beltran were clearly overpayments). Is he worth more than 22 milly a year? Probably not, even if he’s considered a top-of-the-line guy. But our pitching needed this boost, and we weren’t going to find a Kershaw anywhere else in the near future.… Read more...

Tyson Chandler’s injury and the unlikeable New York Knickerbockers

(It’s just a week into the 2013-2014 NBA season and the New York Knickerbockers absolutely stink. At 1-3, the Knicks are somehow worse than their record suggests: center and defensive anchor Tyson Chandler broke his leg in Tuesday’s game against Charlotte, putting him on the shelf for 4-6 weeks. The fan base, already a pessimistic lot, have gone into a full-fledged panic…though it’s hard to classify their anger as “panic”. “Panic” would assume that they had faith in this team to begin with.

I corresponded with MAMBINO co-founder BockerKnocker regarding this turn of events, and how it affects this year’s Knicks)
KOBEshigawa: Just to set up everyone with some context, how did you feel about YOUR…New York Knickerbockers before Tyson Chandler’s injury?
BockerKnocker: The major players in the Eastern Conference had all improved their standing, save for two teams. The Miami Heat didn’t get better, but they are still unquestionably the league’s premier team. The New York Knicks, on the other hand got worse.
I was an Andrea Bargnani detractor from the get-go. He can’t do anything that the average NBA player can do, aside from perimeter shooting. To justify the absurd price that Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri posted for Il Mago, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson would have to play him big minutes. A big uh-oh.… Read more...

J.R. Smith and the emotional anguish of the New York Knicks fan base

(Editor’s Note: Below is a full fledged breakdown from my man BockerKnocker, professed in a mid-day e-mail. I would like to stress that this wasn’t designed to be a post. This was merely a Knicks fan crying out for a better basketball world.)
When the companies in which I invest make poor decisions, I take my money out and put it elsewhere. When retail brands offer reduced quality in their products or services, I run to its competitors, almost as a form of punishment. And when girls start to realize that I’m not “the one,” I get out and move on. (This last one is only half true, but I attribute it 100% to emotional, and thus, irrational human error.) So why do I feel like I have to stick with the #sameoldKnicks every time James Dolan and the powers-that-be make a stupid decision?
J.R. Smith played this organization like a fiddle, delaying his knee surgery until after we rewarded his playoff free fall with a huge multi-year contract. So naturally, our response was to reward him further by rostering his D-League quality younger brother at the expense of a necessary extra big man. Did we not consider the fact that our bigs include the declining Tyson Chandler, the injury prone Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin, and the inept Andrea Bargnani?
Does Dolan think J.R.’s face is handsome, so much so that he can now get to see it twice by way of Chris’ exquisite new backpiece tattoo? Why is this happening?
Why can’t I drop the Knicks just like anything else? Am I scared of facing the torment of New York’s “true fans?” Why do true fans even exist? How many people reallocated their personal funds when our country’s credit rating was downgraded or when the market crashed? How many people voted for “Hope” and “Change” in the past two presidential elections because their needs weren’t being met? Isn’t being a “true fan” of America, i.e. an “American,” mean that we get to pick and choose our desires as we please?
I can’t take it anymore. I want to cheer for a well-run organization whose failures are only attributable to the risk and luck that is appropriate. Being involved in sexual harassment lawsuits, employing people that have ruined, nay, DECIMATED, the quality of the company’s product, and having the stubbornness to make me feel like this will all happen again, is not the profile of an organization that I want to support. I want to be a Spurs fan, damnit, but I can’t.
This is emotional torture.

 …

Accelerating the clock: New Orleans PELICANS Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Jrue Holiday, SG Eric Gordon, SF Al-Farouq Aminu, PF Anthony Davis, C Greg Stiemmsma
Key bench players: G/F Tyreke Evans, PF Ryan Anderson, SF Anthony Morrow, C Jeff Withey
Offseason additions: Holiday, Evans, Stiemmsma, Morrow
Offseason subtractions: PG Greivis Vasquez, C Robin Lopez
FACT OR FICTION: “New Orleans Pelicans” has a good ring to it.
FICTION. Let’s move on.
FACT OR FICTION: The Pelicans did the right thing by trading for Jrue Holiday.
FACT. Potential is a funny thing. It’s impossible to put value on an unknown, so it allows us to overvalue just for the sake of doing so. Nerlens Noel, drafted #1 overall by New Orleans but subsequently traded to Philadelphia, is brimming with potential, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Today’s rim protectors are more valuable than ever because the league is moving toward efficient offenses. For example, the pick and roll is designed to give the ball-handler a plethora of options that result in high percentage shots, such as layups, corner 3s, and any open shots that may force the defense to foul. Furthermore, pairing Noel with Anthony Davis would give the Pelicans TWO protectors, which is a sweet fallback whenever the opposing offense forces one of them into a high-PnR situation.… Read more...

Offseason, Strike 3: Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Jose Calderon, SG Monta Ellis, SF Shawn Marion, PF Dirk Nowitzki, C Sam Dalembert
Key Bench Players: G/F Vince Carter, G/F Wayne Ellington, F Brandan Wright
Offseason Additions: Additions: Ellis, Calderon, Dalembert, PG Shane Larkin, G Ricky Ledo
Offseason Subtractions: SG Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo, C Chris Kaman, PG Darren Collison, PF Elton Brand
FACT OR FICTION: The Mavericks are a playoff team.
FACT, barely. Honest admission? I actually wrote “Fiction” before seeing that not only the MAMBINO aggregate has Cuban’s boys in the 8-slot, but your boy BK himself slid them in at 7.
But a closer look has made me realize that the West, by virtue of various reasons, has become very top heavy this year. Unlike years past, there isn’t going to be a solid 9-seed this season. Dallas will sneak by with guile, with heart, and under the tutelage of the most underrated coach in basketball: Alvy, a one-time contributor to the MAMBINO team.… Read more...

Floyd Mayweather crossing the LeBron Line

Let’s get things started with a nice little disclaimer.
I absolutely despise Floyd Mayweather. Describing the reasons for doing so would just be a repetition of things that you guys already know.
So when taking my obvious bias into effect, if I say that Mayweather might be slowly crossing the LeBron Line, then you’d know that there’d be a lot of truth behind it.
The LeBron Line is the imaginary line that King James crossed when basketball fans outside of Cleveland substituted appreciation for its previous hatred. This past basketball season, LeBron submitted one of the finest basketball seasons of our generation. His offensive repertoire expanded again, and he completed the capture of my heart by becoming a defensive savant.… Read more...

MAMBINO Roundtable: Best/Worst of the NBA Offseason

With the NBA offseason tied up with a little bow and training camp still weeks away, we decided to sate our NBA appetites by wrapping up a crazy couple months. I threw out and e-mail and polled a couple of our brilliant young minds, and this is what we came up with:

Best offseason move: Houston Rockets sign Dwight Howard to a four year, $88 million dollar contract
After years of hoarding cap room and trade assets, the Rockets’ master plan has finally came to fruition in just 9 short months. The first part of this signing actually came at the end of October, when GM Daryl Morey got James Harden for three guys named Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams. In thirty years, will anyone recognize any player there besides Harden?
If Howard is healthy, which I don’t have any reason to suspect he isn’t, the Rockets got a complete game changer that will change the complexion of one of the league’s most porous defenses last year. Towards the end of the season, Dwight showed that when active and engaged he’s still capable of dragging a team of athletically impaired old men to being a respectable defensive squad. Even before we look at his offensive contributions as a devastating finisher at the rim, Howard is already the season’s most valuable signing.… Read more...