For those who don't have a clue about what the Celticsblog draft is, see here: (Celticsblog draft rules) and here: (Celticsblog draft picks).
After two long months of drafting, trades, debate, campaigning, more than a little drama, and voting, the finalists in the 2009 Celticsblog draft have emerged: the Toronto Raptors (managed by Rondo2287) and the Portland CrotoNats (managed by Edgar, and assisted by yours truly). To determine the winner, any registered member of the forums may cast a vote in the dedicated voting thread, linked here.
Remember: Voting ends Wednesday at midnight, so VOTE NOW!
Introduction of the Finalists and statements from the participating GMs, below the fold:
Introducing the Finalists:
Press conference / introduction to team: Link
Path to the Finals: #3 seed in the East. Defeated New Jersey Nets (bdm860), Chicago Bulls (johnnyrondo), Philadelphia 76ers (Kwit10)
Roster: C: Marcus Camby / Zydrunas Ilgauskas
PF: Kevin Garnett / Hakim Warrick / Taylor Griffin
SF: Ron Artest / Michael Finley
SG: Francisco Garcia / Marco Belinelli
PG: Andre Miller / J.J. Barea / Eric Maynor
Press conference / introduction to the team: Link
Path to the Finals: #2 seed in the West. Defeated Golden State Warriors (Evantime34), Houston Rockets (The Walker Wiggle), Buffalo Braves (RebusRankin)
Roster: C: Shaquille O'Neal / Brad Miller
PF: Jermaine O'Neal / Ronny Turiaf / Taj Gibson
SF: Rashard Lewis / Ryan Gomes / Quinton Ross / Jared Dudley
SG: Michael Redd / Manu Ginobili / Fred Jones
PG: Mike Bibby / Delonte West / Jrue Holiday
Statement from the Toronto Raptors:
First I would like to thank everybody that put up with the Toronto Raptors throughout the CB Draft. Secondly I would like to congratulate both Philly and Portland for a great series in the ECF and looking forward to a great series in the Finals.
In the Finals a few changes will be made to Torontos Starting Lineup. We will be running out a lineup that looks like
We are moving Big Z into the starting lineup because during the series we will always have Z on Shaq. They play eachother evenly on the stat sheet over recent memory, and we like Z's bigger body to cover the huge Shaq as well as Z's ability to space the floor and draw shaq away from the basket on defense.
Finally although we in Toronto love Francisco Garcia, we are going with Finley and his experience here in the finals. After coming off the bench Finley will be rested and ready to give us one more great series. We feel that with Finley's age being a factor and Redd's Knee being a factor they will both be slowed from what we are used to but should be able to compete against each other.
The other matchups we will get into later on in the weekend but see this as an exciting final series to this game and as always, Go Raptors!
Statement from the Portland CrotoNats:
Two words: Vote Delonte! Seriously, though, thank you to Donoghus (aka, The Commish) and everybody else who made this entire draft experience a lot of fun. We look forward to a great series with Toronto.
We know it's going to be hard to get votes on Celticsblog for any team opposing KG in the Finals. We all know what #5 can do. However, we think we have the pieces to slow KG down, and we're confident that we can win this series.
First, the CrotoNats are slightly changing their starting lineup, and are going with Rashard Lewis at PF, with Michael Redd moving to SF and Manu Ginobili taking over at SG. Why? Because Rashard gives KG fits. In the last seven meetings between the two players, Rashard has averaged 23.6 points per game, as opposed to 14.9 for Garnett; only once in those games has KG outscored Rashard, and Rashard has scored 30+ points twice. Garnett is the better player, but maybe no other player in the league is as hard for him to handle as Rashard Lewis.
We can't go into every matchup in detail, but it should be clear that Shaq vs. Big Z and Manu vs. Finley are big advantages for Portland, while Redd vs. Artest and Bibby vs. Miller are, at worst, a wash. Also, bringing quality players like Jermaine O'Neal, Delonte West, Brad Miller, and Ryan Gomes off the bench is just too much for Toronto to handle. Also, of course, five of Toronto's top six players are 33 years old or older; the youngest player in the proposed starting lineup will be 30 in November. Rondo2287 has put together a good team, but he can't compete over the course of a seven game series. Lastly, remember: Vote Delonte! He's Edgar's boy!