We’re counting down the days till the start of the new season, and it’s about time for everyone to be making predictions. This year, instead of just doing one prediction, I decided to go out and interview one blogger for every NBA team.
The bloggers whose opinions we will be graced with over the next few weeks are the best of the best, as all of them have featured in Yahoos Ball Don’t Lie basketball blog’s Blog Association, where Kelly Dwyer has been profiling the best team-centric NBA blogs out there. If you have any inclination of increasing your knowledge about the NBA, these are the blogs you need to read and subscribe to. (I know I will be!)
Today, we are honored to interview Tom from Indy Cornrows, one of the best Pacers blogs out there. Alex was was gracious enough to give up some of his time to answer some questions regarding the Lakers and the Bucks .
Jonny: Out on a limb, although backing it up with solid reasoning would be cool too, what do you think the ball park for the Pacer’s 08-09 regular season record will be, and do you think it will be enough to get back into the playoffs in the East?
Tom: The Pacers made wholesale changes this summer but they really just improved on the core of players that finished last season on a positive note. Despite my TIC prediction (and even more TIC shots at Kobe Bryant) I think somewhere between 35 and 42 wins is not out of the question. With the strengthening East, I think they’ll need to win at least 40 games to make the playoffs. The season would have to play out well and the team would need to remain healthy, but not much will surprise me this year.
Jonny: Again, out on the said limb, what do you think the ball park for the Laker’s 08-09 regular season record will be, and do you think it will be enough to win the West?
Tom: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were both pretty busy this summer, so keeping them healthy and into early in the season may scrape a few wins off the regular season record. Still, 55-27 seems within reason if not a bit conservative. I don’t thinkg 55 Ws will be enough to win the West but it will be in the ball park and how the stars hold up over the full 82 will ultimately determine whether or not they win the West.
Jonny: how do you feel the Pacers match up with the Lakers over a 7-game series?
Tom: Wow, what a wonderful question to ponder! I would be delighted to see the Lakers roll to a 4-0 sweep of the Pacers since I would still be able to celebrate a Pacers’ season that produced one of the greatest coaching jobs and team efforts in NBA history.
Jonny: Lakers fans are split down the middle on Odom; some love his versatility, others hate his inconsistency. As an opposing fan, how do you rate Odom?
Tom: I love Odom’s talent when he has it going, but that inconsistency is damning in my book. He can flat out do it all but doesn’t do it all the time. As a fan, that stinks. I feel cheated. Also, when thinking about the Lakers and matchups, Odom doesn’t raise concerns. Sure he might go off, but he’s just as likely to melt into the flow of the game not requiring any attention from the opposition.
Jonny: What do you think of Kobe’s decisions to put-off surgery on his injured pinky?
Tom: This one is up to Kobe and his pinky. Seems like an annoying injury to carry around all year. As I mentioned above, Kobe’s presence and health obviously impact any chance the Lakers have of winning the West. Personally, winning the West shouldn’t trump Kobe being 100% right for the playoffs. I have to assume the pinky really won’t be a problem all year, otherwise it would be a huge mistake to not take care of it now.
Jonny: What is your perception on Bynum? Lakers fans have him pegged as the next *insert hall-of-fame center*, yet the rest of the league doesn’t seem to hold him in such a high regard.
Tom: Bynum freaked me out last year. He’s a monster and I’m on the same page as the Lakers fans. During last summer’s Jermaine O’Neal-to-Lakers rumors, Bynum was certainly the key bargaining chip but at the time the discussed deals didn’t excite me. By Thanksgiving I was thinking how, in hindsight, I would do anything to have traded J.O. for Bynum and Jordan Farmar.
Jonny: Danny Granger is due an extension soon. How much do you feel he is worth, and do you feel the Pacers are in a position to build around him, a la the Sixers with Andre Iguodala?
Tom: With J.O. out of the picture, Granger has really stepped up as the face of the franchise. He’s been all over town and really displayed a great personality. His game blossomed as well over the final four months of last season. There are still little holes in his game and consistency this year will be critical to prove his game continues to mature. Considering the current market, I’d be fine with giving Granger a 5 year $60mil deal which is a bit less than Iguodala.
Jonny: A lot of people around the league have mixed feelings about the JO trade. how do you feel the Pacers fared in the trade?
Tom: The trade was huge for the Pacers regardless of how any of the new players produce this year. J.O. was eating up a third of the salary cap and wasn’t happy. He didn’t appreciate Larry Bird’s demands for greatness and so you had the two biggest personalities in the organization at odds which wasn’t good for atmosphere around the team. The deal brought in decent talent and a new point guard plus some salary cap flexibility to continue changing the direction of the team next summer. J.O. should be great in Toronto assuming his knee holds up, but he wanted to be moved and the Pacers had to move him so they could take the team in a different direction. With that in mind, the deal was great for the Pacers.
Jonny: What are your thoughts on the “player exodus” from the NBA to Europe? do you think a Kobe or a Lebron would ever seriously consider leaving the NBA any time soon?
Tom: I think the European “player exodus” is a bit overhyped. At this point, it actually helps the Pacers. What it had done is skimmed off some of the depth of talent in the NBA, especially at the average point guard position. Since the Pacers are trying to move Jamaal Tinsley, the fact that several players taking up PG roster spots last year are gone, helps the Tins market.
Jonny: What got you into blogging? how do you feel about it as a news medium?
Tom: I started blogging as a writing exercise, because I wasn’t doing as much writing at work as I once did and I enjoy writing. The very night I was setting up my first blog, Stephen Jackson and friends were firing off rounds and trying to dodge cars in the Club Rio parking lot. I’ve been going full steam ever since. Since I find most of my news through blogs I think it works well as a news medium. The blogs aren’t actually breaking the news but they help find news I want to read. Other blogs break plenty of news and are independent news sources which is real exciting. The stories are out there and anyone can find and report on those stories 24 hours a day.
Thanks again to Tom for his time and Insights.. Please DO NOT troll Indy Cornrows, even if you think his ideas are totally off base (which you shouldn’t). Remember, on the Internet, you and I represent Lakers fans everywhere. Lets try to give ourselves a good name.