Monday, December 13, 2004

All Things Wrong in the NBA

Ramblings Surrounding Players, Teams and Coaches

By Anthony Peretore


With seemingly so much going on in the NBA today, I find it necessary to dive into the headlines and give my opinions. While you may not agree with some, most, or all that I have to offer, that’s the beauty of our brand new message board. Feel free to rip into me like I do Hubie Brown later in this column. Enjoy…

PLAYERS

Karl Malone

In case you’ve missed it, here’s the situation with the "Mailman" in a nutshell. He’s recovering from off-season knee surgery and has yet to decide if he is returning to the NBA. To make matters worse, he has no clue as to which team he would play for if he does in fact return for a 20th season. The most likely scenario had him staying in Los Angeles to help solidify a rather weak Laker frontcourt. But wait a second--last Monday Kobe Bryant decided to speak up regarding the Malone saga and his remarks did not go over very well with Kaaaaaal. According to ESPN.com, Kobe was quoted as saying: "The guys that we have here are working hard, practicing hard every day. It's kind of tough for them to be looking over their shoulder, wondering if he's going to come back and then everybody is going to disappear. It's really not fair for us to sit around and speculate how long this is going to go on. I mean, you can't sit up here and speculate for the remainder of the season whether or not he is going to come back. I mean, that's not fair to the guys that are working here." Now, this doesn’t seem to be too harsh of a statement in my eyes; it actually seems pretty fair. Yet Malone’s agent, Dwight Manley, told reporters that in regards to Bryant’s comments, "Karl is furious." On top of that, Karl all but confirmed that there is now no chance of him returning to the Lakers. Are you kidding me? Who the hell is Karl Malone anymore? Does he realize he’s nowhere close to being the 20 and 10 guy that teams should be waiting patiently for? On top of that, Malone is probably one of the best NBA players that no fan outside of his home city ever really took a liking too (Except Paul). Upon never winning a title in Utah, he went to LA in hopes of winning a championship, retiring, and calling it quits. I had no real problem with that, even if Gary Payton decided to do the same. Well Karl, you failed last season, and before you damage your reputation even further, just retire. Sure, Kobe got you from behind (sorry I had to) and took the side of his teammates who are busting their hump every night for the Lakers, and well, good for Kobe; he already has a tarnished (to say the least) rep with his teammates, so why not take a stab at the "Mailman" in hopes of mending relations with his fellow Lakers? Do us all a favor Karl and stay retired. I think it’s safe to say that the majority of the world likes you better on Crank Yankers anyway.

UPDATE: An interesting twist to the Malone-Bryant saga arose this weekend. It was reported that Karl made a pass at Kobe’s wife during a game in mid-November. Maybe this is the real reason Bryant went off on Malone’s delayed announcement of a return to the court. And by the way, how hot is Vanessa Bryant? Better question, who’s hotter, Vanessa Bryant or Joumanna Kidd? (This may be our next poll) And how is it that two of the worst husbands in the NBA get to hold onto these dimes? Life is not fair.

Kareem Rush

Is it just me or is it about damn time someone traded for this guy? A 6-6 lefty guard with playoff experience and two seasons under Phil Jackson, who wouldn’t want Rush? And why don’t the Lakers, they’d rather play Tierre Brown and Jumaine Jones? Well finally, Bobcats Coach and GM Bernie Bickerstaff pulled the trigger last Monday and acquired Rush from LA to see what the former Missouri star can do for a 4-13 expansion team. First game: 27 minutes, 14 points, 5 boards, 2 steals and a block--not too shabby. Now watch as he steals minutes from Gerald Wallace and Jason Kapono (who by the way has the worst beard ever in the history of the National Basketball Association. I wouldn’t walk around my house with that thing yet he sports it every night playing in front of thousands of people). Getting back to Rush, he is undoubtedly another piece to this slowly emerging "franchise" the Bobcats are looking to build. With Rush now in the picture, that gives Charlotte a total of two players the team can build around for the future. Face it, no Bobcat besides Emeka Okafor would be starting for any other NBA team. Sure Brevin Knight is second in the league with 9.7 APG, but don’t you think you could do the same if your team was always in a half-court set? If Rush is not yet taken in your fantasy league, I would gobble him up immediately. Given 40 minutes a night, there is no reason to think he can’t average 16 PPG, 7RPG, 3 APG, 1.5 SPG, comparable to say a Bobby Simmons.

Latrell Sprewell

Wow, I’m not even sure where to start here. There are so many jokes going off in my head right now that I can’t decide which one I should go with first. If you missed it, Spree told a female Clipper fan the other night to 'sucker-punch his vice-president'. When she told him to mind his language for the sake of the children in the crowd, he told her to do what Peter North does best. Very nice, Latrell. Wasn't there just an incident of players going into the stands and beating up fans a few weeks ago-- go right ahead and scream obscenities at CLIPPER FANS. Spree got suspended for one game for his comments, yet Ron Artest got a whole year. Way to go Stern, that makes perfect sense. You make an example of how strict the NBA is going to be concerning player-fan relations, yet the league’s poster-child (before Artest) for poor judgement tells a woman to perform sexual services on him and only warrants a one game suspension? This is the same guy who wasn’t happy with his contract situation this summer, claiming he had a family to feed. So Spree, you’re worried about feeding your family with only $7 million, yet you take into no regard your children watching you scream vulgarities at innocent female fans (of the worst team in professional sports history, no less)? I think that every time a player does something as idiotic as this, Artest should get one game removed from his suspension. Can you imagine? "Yuta Tabuse was caught peeping into the Heat cheerleaders’ locker room last night, apparently investigating if what his teammates said about ‘Cindy’ was really true." Not only would the Japanese point guard remain on the pine for the rest of the year with Jake Voskuhl and Jackson Vrrrrrroman, but Artest would also be granted two mores games for the ‘04-05 season. What do you think commish?

UPDATE: I came across new Sprewell information this weekend that I just couldn’t leave out. This happened a few years ago when Spree was a member of the Knicks. As reported in the Boston Herald: A timeout had just been called, and one of his then-Knicks teammates had hit the floor under the basket in front of the Celtics bench. The young ballboy entrusted with wiping up sweat spots was a little slow getting onto the floor, and as a result Spreewell turned his usual charm on the youngster. "Mop the expletive, expletive floor,"' he barked. . . ." I wonder what he really said. Usually you can assume what the actual words probably were, but back-to-back expletives? I can’t even think of what would make sense in this sequence. If anyone can figure it out please bring it to my attention.

Craig Monroe

I know he’s not a NBA player, but this is definitely worth mentioning. According to ESPN.com, the Detroit Tigers outfielder was caught stealing a $29.99 belt from a department store. Apparently, he tried wearing the belt out of the store, completely ignoring the security tag on the item. What’s even better, is that the team had no comment on the incident. I mean, what would they say? "Craig is a bleeping bleep hole. We’re so glad to pay millions of dollars to a player with his remarkable intelligence." What the hell was this guy thinking? First of all, you’re a professional athlete, stop buying belts at the GAP. Second of all, if I were a millionaire, I’d be paying someone else to go get me a belt. How often do you buy a belt anyway, once a year? It’s amazing these same people are trusted with automobiles and sharp objects, nevermind millions of dollars. And as Paul informed me yesterday, this is like the fifth time Craig "The Klepto" Monroe has been caught shoplifting in the past year.


TEAMS

New Orleans Hornets

I caught myself using the word abysmal the other day, out loud, without any shame whatsoever. I was referring to the New Orleans Hornets who had just lost their ninth straight game. Have you looked at a Hornets box score lately? Junior Harrington? Lee Nailon? Matt Frejie? These guys are STARTING. They even brought Dan Dickau out from whatever rock he was under and awarded him 18 minutes in his first game. He played 16 minutes total for the Mavericks all year before the trade. He’s so bad that the Yahoo! in-game box score didn’t even have him listed as a potential player coming off the bench. Well I guess this explains why the Hornets are 1-17 this year. 18 games, one win, unreal. If Baron Davis has season-ending back surgery, I honestly think they should just move the franchise, mid-season, to Vegas. Who would care?

Bulls-Warriors-Clippers

Paul almost went into cardiac arrest the other day when I informed him of this potential three-way deal. He was very angry, to say the least, that Chicago sportswriter Sam Smith was creating yet another absurd rumor surrounding the Bulls. The prospective deal would ship Eddy Curry (playing like Eddie Winslow) to Golden State, Mike Dunleavy Jr. would go play with daddy in LA, and the Clips would in turn ship Chris Wilcox AND Bobby Simmons to Chi-town. WHAT???? To sum up Paul’s response (which had more curses than the Salem Witch Trial), why would the Clippers ever do this? For LA, the trade would boil down to Mike (I’m a wimpy white boy bust) Dunleavy for emerging talent in Wilcox and Simmons? Then again, we are dealing with Clipper GM Elgin Baylor who has made some of the most disastrous front office decisions in the history of mankind. We’ll see how this plays out, but I don’t see any reason for the Clippers to unload any of these guys. This is the first time in 7 years they may actually have a shot at the playoffs. Leave it to Elgin to blow it.
(Note: If you think Paul and I are enormous NBA geeks for getting so fired up over this, you’re dead on.)

COACHES

Greg Popovich

Okay, so I realize Bruce Bowen is a great defender and his ability to shutdown opposing 2’s is a key component to San Antone’s success. So, last Wednesday night when Ray Allen dropped 29 on the Spurs and the Sonics were up 19 at the half, why was Bowen still getting minutes? Popovich needs to realize that offense from just Duncan, Manu, and Parker may not cut it in this season’s emerging run-and-gun style of play. While Bowen received 37 minutes that night, Brent Barry got only 6 against a team he played for last season. Who would know how to guard Allen better than Barry would? Wasn’t Barry supposed to be the 6th Man of the Year and the x-factor to the Spurs title run? In his last five games he’s averaged 11.2 min, 2.6 PPG, and 0.8 APG. Meanwhile, the ancient Robert Horry has received 13.0 minutes per game over the same stretch in which the team has gone a mere 3-2. What is Popovich thinking?

Hubie Brown

If you’re a fan of this old geezer, I suggest you skip down to the next column because I’m about to rip him apart. Brown, as you know, stepped down as head coach of the old Vancouver Grizzlies last week, citing health problems as his grounds for retirement. Hubie is so ill that he has taken an analyst position at ABC, a deal announced last Tuesday. This guy is an absolute jerk in my book. He had to have some idea that he might not have lasted the whole season as coach, and if he did, it was his obligation to inform management before the season started. If he is indeed "ill", there is no way his old, wrinkly ass should be boring me to tears as a NBA analyst. Brown has potentially left the Grizzlies in shambles under a completely new coaching staff, headed by the 5’ 2" Mike Fratello. There’s a reason no one has given this guy a job in the last five years. The last time he coached, Litterial Green was on his roster. Shame on Hubie for possibly ruining one of the up-and-coming teams’ chances at the playoffs this year. I hate selfish bastards that ruin the game for thousands of fans by being so inconsiderate. I hope I attend a game that Hubie broadcasts, even though when I yell at him, his geriatric ears most definitely won’t be able to hear me. What kind of name is Hubie anyway? Hubert? Is that the full name? I guess so, the word processor didn’t try and correct it.

Wrapping up the Artest Incident

As an endnote, I would just like to make a few things clear. After the Ron Artest suspension was handed down, both Paul and I were very disappointed. Maybe it’s due to our love for Artest’s play on the court, but we just didn’t feel it was appropriate to hand him a season-ending ban. It’s very clear that Artest does indeed have some problems in his life, but honestly, who doesn’t? The difference is, we don’t have millions of people waiting for us to screw up on a nightly basis and in turn, bashing us for making those inevitable poor decisions. I have made countless dumb moves over the course of my 22 years, but fortunately these blunders weren’t spread all over the country for millions of people to look down upon me. Ron got caught in a terrible position, but one in which I might have reacted in the same way. He fouled Wallace, no big deal. Big Ben gives him a two-hand jammy to the face, yet Artest just walks away. Maybe he was a bit arrogant to lie down at the scorers table, but still, he conducted himself appropriately in walking away from the situation. Then came the beer, a perfect toss I might add, nailing an undoubtedly steamed Artest from five rows back. If it was me, with millions of fans already weighing down on me, counting on me to fail, pushing my frustration to the brink of disaster, I’m right in the stands with Ron. I hate to admit that, but there’s no way I sit there and let some jerk toss a beer on me when I did nothing wrong. If you’re in a bar and some dillhole threw a beer at you, what would you do? Sit there and take it while smoking hot chicks bash you to total embarrassment? No, you’re going to go over there, break off a pool cue and stab him with it. The difference between this scenario and Ron’s is that we, as fans, count on players to make the right decisions and to act as perfect role models each and every day. For some people though, that’s just not possible. We as humans have our faults and Ron just may have a few more than most people. I don’t think he is a bad person, just a guy put in a lot of bad situations in which he has bad decisions. I sympathize with Artest, and though I do think he deserved to be suspended, the rest of the season is just far too harsh. If Ron gets 72 games and Sprewell gets one for propositioning fans for sexual favors, something’s wrong here. Ron threw physical punches, Latrell threw verbal ones. The difference is not as big as it appears on the surface. David Stern needs to wake up to reality and shorten the Artest suspension and if he doesn’t I don’t think Ron will be back in the NBA. Too bad.


2 Comments:

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did Hubie leave the Grizzlies in shambles? They seem to be doing pretty good right now.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

"Brown has potentially left the Grizzlies in shambles under a completely new coaching staff, headed by the 5’ 2" Mike Fratello." Potentially is what the article reads. I never said he did, but anytime a completely new system comes into play midseason, there is a big chance for disaster. And Memphis is only 4-3 since Fratello took over with two of those wins coming against Philly and Atlanta. I never mind the criticism but when you take my words out of context it's a different story.

 

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