What if the NBA were expanding again? Which Phoenix Suns rotation player would you leave unprotected, if forced to pick someone?
Da Rules, from Akis:
Just for fun, I've wanted to do an article for my blog on what a prospective NBA Expansion team would look like if one were to come into the league next year. This is purely hypothetical, and I realize that if the NBA were to add an expansion team, it likely would not be for a while (especially with a possible lockout coming next year), but I still think it could be a fun exercise.I'm contacting each of you to act as the heads of the team you blog about, and to select the players that you would protect on your team. Here are the rules:
- I must select 14 players from teams, who are either under contract or restricted free agents at the end of the 2010-11 season
- I can't select more than one player from any team.
- I can only select players that are unprotected by your team.
- Each team can only protect up to a maximum of 8 players on its roster who are either under contract or are restricted free agents at the end of the 2010-11 season.
- Each team will designate which of its players are unprotected and thus eligible for selection.
- Each team must have at least one player eligible for me to select, even if the team doesn't have 8 players under contract/RFA at the end of the 2010-11 season.
- Any player I select that is under contract at the end of the 2010-11 season will be placed on the imaginary expansion team.
- Any Restricted Free Agent I select will automatically become an Unrestricted Free Agent, but I now have their bird rights
- Unrestricted free agents (that's contracts who expire at the end of 2010-11 without being rookie scale) are not eligible to be protected or selected by me.
El Dragon with the layup against Russia
Today, Slovenia (not televised, so I'm just going on box score and writeup from the link provided above) was on a roll in the third quarter, up 50-36, when Russia got hot (or Slovenia faded) and eventually won the game 83-78. Russia finishes 7th, and Slovenia 8th. The 1-6 spots will be decided tomorrow.
Still, a tiny country with a TOTAL population of less than half the Phoenix metro area, should be very proud of their accomplishments. They finished 8th in the World (and 4th in Eurobasket a year ago), despite each time missing at least 1 important front-court player.
For his part, Goran can be proud of what he's done.
For the tournament, here are Goran's per-game numbers: 12.7 points, 4.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds (over 9 games)
This is definitely a huge step up for Goran from previous campaigns with his national squad. He took over as his team's best all-around player. He shared the PG duties with 2-time Euroleague MVP Jaka Lakovic, starting every game in the backcourt with him and taking turns with the ball. He led the team in both points per game, and assists per game.
This is the first time he's had expectations to carry, from both the team and the media, and all in all he handled them with class and humility.
He never once tried to make it "the Goran show", instead always trying to stay within the scheme of his team's offense.
His assist/turnover ratio wasn't bad (1.5/1) but not great either. And after sputtering against tougher competition in his first 2 tries (7p, 4a against Team USA, and 5p, 2a against Turkey, who will likely meet in the Finals tomorrow), he responded well in his last 2 tough games (19p, 2a, 2r and 3 stls against Spain, then 15p, 7a, 3r against Russia).
The downside is that Slovenia lost all 4 of those games.
Still, Goran and Slovenia should be proud.
If there was a medal for the ratio between total population and World Championships finish, Slovenia would win gold.