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Matt's Advice to Cleveland...

... is to try and trade Ilgauskas. He's an okay player, but also a pretty classic case of non-complementary skills. With LeBron on your team, there's no reason to try and run your offense through Big Z. Varejao's almost certainly a worse player in the abstract, but he's a good fit for the team -- provides what they genuinely need from a big man and can run the floor okay. They have essentially identical plus/minus scores. Cleveland needs spot-up shooting much more than it needs low-post offense, and you could probably procure outside shooting in exchange for him.

UPDATE: Or another way of looking at it -- trade whomever or other to move up high enough in the draft to get JJ Redick, who I don't think is even projected to go especially high. Most teams, I think, couldn't afford to play someone who's that short and can't really run the point, but the Cavs can.

May 22, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Cleveland needs dudes not named Bron who can score vs. competant defense, full-stop. Z can score vs. said defense. Varejao, not so much.

Posted by: Pooh | May 22, 2006 2:24:07 AM

Cleveland needs to get one of three defensive rebounds in the last ten seconds of Game 6.

Posted by: antid_oto | May 22, 2006 3:06:37 AM

How is Ilgauskas' name turned into "Z"? Curse the Pistons for not sweeping the Cavs so that I wouldn't have had to hear the name Lebron James in every second sentence for the past week. At least now Dwane Wade ("just like Lebron James but shorter") will have to share the stage with Shaq. But I think Ilgaukas is why the Cavs had so much success against the Pistons. He clogged the lane and prevented Chauncey from driving to the basket or kicking it out to the perimeter. He harrassed Rip's quick 8' footers, reduced the number of ally oops and made the action around the rim a matter of some suspense. Maybe it was the defensive scheme rather than Z but somebody less big would not have been as effective.

Posted by: LowLife | May 22, 2006 9:26:16 AM

How is Ilgauskas' name turned into "Z"?

It isn't, but his first name is Zydrunas.

I wonder how many people noticed that LeBron left the court without shaking anyone's hand. 100 years from now, people will still be bitching about the Bad Boys having done that against the Bulls in '91, but will anyone say the same thing about The Next Jordan after 24 hours? Not holding my breath.

Posted by: Haggai | May 22, 2006 9:46:23 AM

I think Kobe did the same thing to the Suns. This happens a lot. Pip gets murdered for refusing to go back into a game on his coach's instruction. That's happened at least a couple of times this year (K-Mart and B. Wallace, I think), yet nothing.

I think this is a result of our unwillingness to treat games as something other than courses in moral instruction.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | May 22, 2006 10:03:02 AM

Yeah...I guess my issue is just with the double standard applied to the Bad Boys. Even though they were a rough team that, admittedly, invited people's scorn and treated it as a badge of honor, they're usually villainized for that particular maneuver on the assumption that nobody else has ever done it.

Posted by: Haggai | May 22, 2006 10:08:03 AM

"double standard applied to the Bad Boys"

Um, didn't the Bad Boys walk off the court with like 30 seconds left on the clock?

Posted by: a | May 22, 2006 10:27:46 AM

Some of them went to the locker room early after having been taken out of the game (the Bulls were up by a lot), yes. Not sure why that's exponentially worse than waiting for the final buzzer before leaving without acknowledging your opponents.

Posted by: Haggai | May 22, 2006 10:35:58 AM

As I recall, Isiah orchestrated the "walk-out" before the end of the game. Leaving before the final buzzer is considered incredibly poor sportsmanship and Thomas, Lambier et al were being defiant in not recognizing the Bulls victory (which, even at the time, was seen as a pretty significant changing of the guard). I can't say I ever liked the Pistons in the late 80s, early 90s, but I don't know whether what they did was right or wrong. It was, however, out-of-the ordinary. It also probably kept Isiah off the Olympic team, if the stories about Jordan demanding that can be believed.

What Lebron did happens more frequently.

Posted by: jim | May 22, 2006 10:55:24 AM

As I recall, Archangel Michael and Nine Phinger Phil had been speaking out all year long about what a detriment to the NBA the Pistons were and how God and the Bulls, with the help of the refs, needed to step up and rid the NBA of this blight. It was gamemanship on the part of the Bulls but also insulting to the Pistons and those of us that loved them. The relinquishing of the Title to the Bulls was inevitable but Isiah and the boys felt they didn't have to play nice to the team that was anything but nice to them. I can't blame them. It was during this time that Zeke and Dumars had a little spat over whether Joe was being too friendly with Michael. Jeke thought Joe should continue to play his masterful defense against Jordan even off the court and Joe said "you're not the boss of me". I don't care if Zeke shook hands or kissed their behinds and I sure don't care what Lebron does. It's all about the championship.

Posted by: LowLife | May 22, 2006 12:08:31 PM

. It was gamemanship on the part of the Bulls but also insulting to the Pistons and those of us that loved them.

It was also basically accurate, as the Pistons thugged up more as their abilities declined.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | May 22, 2006 12:13:29 PM

I'm not defending what the Bad Boys did in '91, I never thought it was right. I just don't think, contra the conventional wisdom, that (a) it was the most wicked thing in the history of basketball and that (b) St. LeBron and whomever else has ever walked off without shaking hands was displaying that much more sportsmanship.

Posted by: Haggai | May 22, 2006 12:26:11 PM

I agree it's not a big deal in the scheme of things. I'm a baseball fan, and I don't have a problem that players never shake hands after a playoffs/World Series. They may go quietly to the other locker room to congratulate their friends/competitors, but there is no expectation that they do so.

I bet you that most of the players who don't receive their congratulations are unconcerned as well. They may use it as a 'motivational' tool, but I doubt they really care. Hell, they already won!

Posted by: jim | May 22, 2006 12:50:58 PM

"Isiah and the boys felt they didn't have to play nice to the team that was anything but nice to them. I can't blame them."

Play nice to them? The Pistons had just won back to back Championships. Who is "nice" to two time defending champions?

People didn't like the Pistons because their strategy to beat the Bulls was to play basketball poorly. What do I mean by this? A foul isn't ideally a part of the basketball game. A foul is a deviation from the game. It is a violation of the rules. In terms of basketball, Jordan was the best player on the court and the Bulls were the better team. The Pistons realized that by playing the game poorly in one respect (i.e. fouling hard, roughing up Jordan, playing the game in a way it isn't supposed to be played) they could win. I prefer to see the team that plays better basketball win a game. The Pistons hurt the Bulls ability to play their best basketball by violating the rules of basketball. A smart strategic move, but not great for fans who prefer seeing basketball played.

My rant is over.

Posted by: a | May 22, 2006 2:02:38 PM

"the Pistons thugged up more as their abilities declined."

You might remember better than this Detroit homer. I know that Mahorn could be a bit ruff but he was gone by '91. Lambeer was pesky in the pull your shorts back to slow you down sort of way. The only person that seemed to become more thuggish was Rodman - whom the Bulls couldn't wait to grab up some 3-4 years later.

Posted by: LowLife | May 22, 2006 2:03:06 PM

"The Pistons hurt the Bulls ability to play their best basketball by violating the rules of basketball."

No, they didn't. I don't even know what you are talking about. Perhaps, mistakes were made. There's a lot of big people around the area of the basket and it could be that there was some jostling about. Poor Michael might have gotten involved in some of that. But how can you say the Pistons were violating rules? If that's true then the NBA should have hired some people to officiate the games. You know, referees or something.

Posted by: LowLife | May 22, 2006 2:16:15 PM

People didn't like the Pistons because their strategy to beat the Bulls was to play basketball poorly. What do I mean by this? A foul isn't ideally a part of the basketball game. A foul is a deviation from the game. It is a violation of the rules. In terms of basketball, Jordan was the best player on the court and the Bulls were the better team. The Pistons realized that by playing the game poorly in one respect (i.e. fouling hard, roughing up Jordan, playing the game in a way it isn't supposed to be played) they could win. I prefer to see the team that plays better basketball win a game. The Pistons hurt the Bulls ability to play their best basketball by violating the rules of basketball. A smart strategic move, but not great for fans who prefer seeing basketball played.

Perfect.

The big difference was that Isiah & co. made a big show of not shaking hands. Isiah taking his ball and going home, more or less. Somewhat of a piece with what we've learned about Zeke in the intervening years, no?

Lebron was just gone, he waited til the buzzer, and walked to the locker room. No biggie, I think.

Posted by: Pooh | May 22, 2006 2:17:03 PM

So Jordan had the right to expect that nobody would ever foul him? Did other teams afford the more skilled offensive players on the Pistons (Isiah, Dumars, Dantley/Aguirre) the same courtesy? Has any team ever done this for any other team?

Yes, the Bad Boy Pistons were a physical team, and they committed more hard fouls than most other teams did. They were also called for those fouls--that's why there are referees. To whine about how they were "violating the rules of basketball" by fouling people is pathetic. As if Oakley, Grant, Rodman, etc. never fouled anybody. Please.

Posted by: Haggai | May 22, 2006 2:25:27 PM

"No, they didn't. I don't even know what you are talking about. Perhaps, mistakes were made. There's a lot of big people around the area of the basket and it could be that there was some jostling about. Poor Michael might have gotten involved in some of that. But how can you say the Pistons were violating rules? If that's true then the NBA should have hired some people to officiate the games. You know, referees or something."

Um, the Refs ARE there to punish people who violate rules. For example, if you are running down the court with the basketball in your possession, you must be dribbling the basketball. If you don't, the referee will (or at least should) blow his whistle and call traveling. The punishment for the violation of the rule is that your team loses posssession of the ball. I would assume that generally there is no advantage to violating this rule.

Posted by: a | May 22, 2006 2:27:17 PM

"If you don't, the referee will (or at least should) blow his whistle and call traveling. The punishment for the violation of the rule is that your team loses posssession of the ball. I would assume that generally there is no advantage to violating this rule."

You must be refering to what MJ did for his entire career. That really did hurt the Bulls chances.

Posted by: LowLife | May 22, 2006 2:38:38 PM

Haggai,

I think that most observers of those Pistons-Bulls series would agree that a part of the Pistons strategy was to foul Jordan (and other Bulls for that matter) in a rather violent manner in order to discourage the Bulls from taking the ball to the hoop and to generally mess with the Bulls game.

Obviously, fouls are a part of the game in some sense. Fouls will inevitably occur and if an effort was made to actually eliminate fouls from the game (as in players no longer ever fouling another player), chances are the game would be far less appealling. However, I think it's pretty clear that the Pistons weren't fouling Jordan in the course of trying to perform other, permitted, actions.

Posted by: a | May 22, 2006 2:55:12 PM

I think that most observers of those Pistons-Bulls series would agree that a part of the Pistons strategy was to foul Jordan (and other Bulls for that matter) in a rather violent manner in order to discourage the Bulls from taking the ball to the hoop and to generally mess with the Bulls game.

Um, yeah...and how many NBA playoff games have you watched in your life? Are you actually under the impression that the Pistons were the first/only team who EVER employed this strategy against an opponent with a high scoring player?

Next thing you'll be telling that some baseball pitchers actually throw inside to try to push opposing batters off the plate. Or that some NFL defenses try to hit receivers who come across the middle of the field to discourage them from catching long passes.

Posted by: Haggai | May 22, 2006 3:08:20 PM

"Um, yeah...and how many NBA playoff games have you watched in your life? Are you actually under the impression that the Pistons were the first/only team who EVER employed this strategy against an opponent with a high scoring player?"

I understated the degree of Pistons brutality in my post. Of course other teams have made hard fouls when people drive into the lane, but the Pistons were especially brutal and especially deliberate. Arguing a matter of degree is difficult in this kind of forum because we can't look game by game at the footage, but I feel comfortable stating that the Pistons were far from the norm in terms of physical play.

Posted by: a | May 22, 2006 3:24:22 PM

People didn't like the Pistons because their strategy to beat the Bulls was to play basketball poorly. What do I mean by this? A foul isn't ideally a part of the basketball game. A foul is a deviation from the game. It is a violation of the rules.

Just insert "Jordan" where you have "Pistons" and you may understand why I hate the guy. No one ever had the kind total rule suspension that Jordan had in his prime. Why wouldn't you foul a guy hard when that guy is going to get a foul call regardless of whether or not it actually happened? I'd take two over three points anytime. Not to mention that Jordan never committed a foul in the fourth quarter of a game regardless of the actual amount of hacking and grabbing and pushing off he actually did.

Unfortunately, the league is ruining my appreciation for LeBron by starting to do the same thing.

Calls for Jordan were a far more blatant example of 'basketball' being ruined than anything the "Bad Boys" ever did.

Posted by: keatssycamore | May 22, 2006 3:51:11 PM

I hate Jordan and the Bad Boys. So there.

Posted by: blah | May 22, 2006 9:28:59 PM

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