Although there’s ****-all to talk about the show must go on. In the recent Triano interview he said:
All of a sudden we’ve got two teams now, we’ve got a starting group and a bench group, though I don’t know who’s in which one.
Let me help you out, Jay. Here’s your bench:
Jarrett Jack, Marco Belinelli, Antoine Wright, Reggie Evans, Rasho Nesterovic
How does this bench fare against teams we’ll be competing with?
I know this isn’t how the benches will exactly lineup and I also know that teams mix-and-match first and second unit players, but for the sake of discussion let’s go with this.
Celtics: Eddie House, Tony Allen, Brian Scalabrine, Rasheed Wallace, Baby Davis
They’re better. Eddie House is no longer someone you remember only because of his last name. He’s become a reliable three point shooter and has proven that his quick-release can be effective coming off any screen that provides him with a daylight of space. Scalabrine is a joke for various reasons but he’s found a nice with the Celtics and knows where his 3’s will come from with Garnett and Pierce on the court, the chemistry factor for Scalabrine is very high, thus making him a great fit even though he doesn’t have great talent. Rasheed Wallace might just be the signing of the summer, they lost Leon Powe but replaced him with someone twice as good and who makes the Celtics even meaner. Tony Allen is their Jarrett Jack and Baby Davis trumps Rasho.
Cavaliers: Daniel Gibson, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Leon Powe, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Raptors win. Ilgauskas is their main advantage off the bench but he’s approaching 50. Leon Powe and Reggie Evans are a wash and I’d give Jack the advantage over Gibson. Nothing needs to be said for Parker and Moon. It’ll be very interesting to see how the Cavaliers’ role players fit in with what they’ve got going in the starting lineup. Wisdom says they need three-point shooting and they got Parker to complement Gibson in addressing that. However, nobody doubles Shaq anymore. Parker was also brought in for his size at the defensive end after the playoffs exposed Cleveland’s guards. I can’t imagine LeBron being too excited about the wing depth here.
Magic: J.J Redick, Mickael Pietrus, Matt Barnes, Ryan Anderson, Marcin Gortat
Even. It’s a question of known and unknown quantities when Belinelli goes up against Barnes or Pietrus. Nobody knows what to expect from the Italian whereas his counterparts have proven to be very effective swingmen. Redick’s range from three is mighty impressive but Jack’s the stronger defender although Redick is underrated. I’d call the offensive matchup even at the PG with Jack getting an edge defensively. Pietrus and Wright’s defense is even with Ryan Anderson being the X-Factor for the Magic. Rasho gets an edge over the surprisingly sought-after Gortat who I liken to Eric Montross, except with a childhood that gave him a bit of a mean streak.
Pistons: Will Bynum, Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox
Raptors. Barely. Belinelli reminds me of Charlie V – ability to explode offensively and a sieve on defense. Give Charlie V the edge because of the experience and aerodynamics. The frontline of Brown and Wilcox is highly questionable but they’re both younger and more athletic than Evans or Nesterovic. Ex-Piston Amir Johnson might beat out one of those two for the starting role but can’t see it happening early in the season. Wilcox is statistically a great player and gets his share of highlight-reel time but our veterans can counter. Maxiell is their most effective bench player with Charlie V being the best offensive player on either bench. Jack gets the edge at the PG. Not convinced that the Pistons are done dealing for the summer.
Bulls: Lindsey Hunter, Jannero Pargo, John Salmons, Joakim Noah, Jerome James
Raptors. After Hinrich the Bulls’ guard depth is questionable and you have to go with the Raptors here who trump them at PG (don’t know what impact Taj Gibson might have), SG (Pargo is technically their off-guard), and center. Joakim Noah is a good young garbage man but I feel Evans and Johnson (if given playing time) can counter. Salmons is the best offensive player on either bench and gets the nod over Wright. The defensively suspect Bulls could open up avenues for Belinelli who can use his size to get his shot off.
Hawks: Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford, Maurice Evans, Zaza Pachulia, Joe Smith
Hawks. Jeff Teague was a steal for them but you can’t pick a rookie over Jack. Crawford and Belinelli have similar criticisms and Zaza Pachulia is a gritty and efficient center with a better inside game than any of our big men. The crafty Joe Smith is a better shooter than Rasho from 15-feet and Maurice Evans is a better offensive player than Wright. The Raptors couldn’t matchup with the Hawks’ athleticism last year and they’ve addressed that to a degree with Wright and Jack in there. The Hawks’ second unit can rebound against the Raptors, vice-versa is unknown. In the big picture, the Hawks aren’t going anywhere, last year’s second round appearance sounds about the peak for this unit.
PS: I can’t believe the lack of respect that was shown to Oliver Miller, Dell Curry and Walt Williams in the recent polls.