Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Sunday Whys

Artest certainly had some why questions to answer last night in Milwaukee

After receiving several kind comments regarding my "IFs" Eastern Conference Preview a few weeks ago, I thought I'd concoct a similar piece that examines the many "Why" questions floating around the league today. Enjoy...

Why aren't the following players starting for their respective teams?

--Corey Maggette, LA Clippers: I know he was out with a bum hammy, but he's back now Coach Dunleavy, cmon now. Quinton Ross should not be getting more minutes than your second best player.

--Stromile Swift, Houston: Wasn't one of the main reasons the Rockets brought this guy in to protect Yao Ming? And is there any reason to think that Juwan Howard, at this stage of his career, can do anything that Stro can't? T-Mac needs more athleticism around him and a quick fix would be inserting Swift into that first five.

--Josh Smith/Marvin Williams, Atlanta: Isn't anyone better than Josh Childress at this point? It's not like the Hawks are challenging for a Playoff spot here, give all the big minutes to the guys with the most talent. Isn't that the best way to determine who belongs and who doesn't? In my opinion, Childress doesn't...

--Trevor Ariza, New York: Matt Barnes has had a decent start to the season, but Ariza is a much better defender. With both Marbury and Crawford now starting, LB needs to upgrade the defenders surrounding them. Ariza would be nice a start(er).

--Michael Sweetney, Chicago: Why won't anyone give this guy a chance to shine? In my opinion, Paul's prediction for Sweetney to be a double-double guy would be dead-on if he got the minutes he seemingly deserves. Here's a guy that hasn't gotten over 26 minutes of PT all season, yet is still second on the team with 6.8 RPG. Wake up Skiles...

Other Whys...

Why isn't Dwyane Wade included in MVP conversations?

--Is one player doing more for his team right now than Wade? His numbers, 24.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.0 SPG, & 1.0 BPG, don't lie. Yet while "Flash" is posting the best all-around stats in the entire league at this point, most of our focus remains on players like LeBron, Kobe, Duncan, etc for MVP. We all need to face the facts that Dwyane is just as important to this Heat team as Shaquille O'Neal is. Last year we argued that Wade's inflated numbers were due mostly to the fact that opponents were double-teaming Shaq down low, which obviously was the case much of the time. But what about now? Who's carrying the team while O'Neal is out of the lineup with yet another injury? Which leads me to...

Why aren't we discussing Shaq's retirement at the end of the season?

The time has come where Shaq is reaching the downward spiral portion of his career. In fact, I'll even go out on a limb to say that if the Heat do indeed win the Championship this season, he will most certainly retire. Seriously, why wouldn't he? Four NBA titles isn't enough? Going out as one of the best players in league history isn't enough? At that point, what else would he have to prove? And would he really want to get beat up for a few more seasons down low? I sure wouldn't...

Why do the Nets STINK right now?

Yeah, that's right, I think the Nets stink. Big deal, they beat the Jazz, Bulls, and Raptors, so what? They got their asses handed to them Friday in Indiana and again on Saturday night vs. Houston. They obviously aren't at that stage where they can hang with the elite clubs in this league. In my opinion, their main problem is down low. We must not forget that Nenad Krstic is only in his second year in the league and still adjusting to the American game. Also, Marc Jackson, Scott Padgett, and whoever else they have starting at the four just aren't equipped to run with Kidd, Carter, and RJ, nor are they good enough to provide any low-post scoring threat. New Jersey desperately needs to acquire an athletic 4, sooner rather than later.

Why can't Kwame Brown be 10 and 13 every night?

Probably because he can't manage to stay on the court long enough. What is widely being ignored right now is Brown's chronic plague of foul trouble--currently averaging 3.8 fouls per game in just 27.3 minutes. But the other night in Minnesota, Kwame committed just one personal all night while posting season-highs with 10 points and 13 boards. Sure much of this might have been in garbage time, but it's something to build on for the future, right? So guess what did he did Friday in Philly...yup, resorted back to his old ways: 4 fouls, 4 points, & 3 rebounds in 24 minutes. Still happy you decided to come back Phil?

Why is Mehmet Okur suddenly playing like an All-Star?

Perhaps it had something to do with the reaming Utah coach Jerry Sloan gave him after his grotesque performance in New Jersey on Wednesday. Okur totaled just 2 points and 1 assist in 15 minutes of a 91-83 loss and following the game Sloan questioned his passion on the court. So how did Okur respond? With back-to-back nights of All-Star performances: 29 and 12 at Toronto and then 33 and 17 at Chicago! Are you serious? This is the same white ogre that rode the pine for the Pistons Championship team? If Kirilenko's ankle injury isn't that serious and Boozer can actually find his testicles, perhaps the Jazz can sneak into the Playoffs.

Some Random Whys...

Why hasn't Carmelo taken his skirt off yet?

Why did Kenyon Martin stop taking steroids?

Why does Stephen Jackson look like he's 80?

Why Oklahoma City of all places?

Why not Vegas?

Why did it take so long for Shawn Bradley to realize his knees were made of gelatin?

Why is Marv Albert so good and Kenny Albert so annoying?

Why is Tom Tolbert allowed to be an analyst?

Why hasn't any team handed the reigns to Bobby Jackson yet? Can't you see him as the next Chauncey Billups?

Why did Larry Brown leave Detroit again? That's like leaving Aruba to vacation in Haiti.

Why won't anyone on the Grizzlies make Pau Gasol shave?

Why are the Toronto Raptors an NBA franchise again?

Why aren't their more commercials like the new Wade and Iverson ones?

Why can't Scott Skiles trick Ben Gordon into thinking every quarter is the fourth? You know, like Henry Winkler tricked Adam Sandler in "The Water Boy"?

Why don't more teams do what the Bucks did this offseason?

Why did the Nuggets sign Earl Watson again?

Why isn't Joel Przybilla getting more run? Nate McMillan is KILLING me

And saving the best for last...

Why ON EARTH, does Mike Bibby rock that beard?

Make sure to check back for Paul's 5 on Five on Monday...


At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I can answer some of your questions.

Sweetney is not starting because his condition is still not there yet and his defense is not as good as Songuila (not that Sonuila's great).

Wade is because Heat is only 3-3 after Shaq's down and Wades do still have some talents around him. To be consider MVP, playing 0.500 ball isn't enough.

Shaq is because he just signed a extension and eventhough he's getting older, he's 33, which should mean he still got at least 2 or 3 good yrs left in him.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Paul Benedict said...

Let me see if I can answer some of your questions since I'm bored...

--Bobby Jackson is 32 now and misses 20+ games a year. I think that's why he's not the "next" Chauncey Billups, who is a few years younger than him.

--Shaq just signed a new deal and has sworn that he wants to play till he's almost 40. While I don't believe him there, I'd say the chance of him retiring is about 0.00001%. If you had the NBA and city of Miami on the tip of your finger, would you?

--Q-Ro has been playing more than Maggette for two reasons: 1)Dunleavy wants to limit Corey's minutes until his hammy is 100%. Nobody ever rushed hammy injuries. And 2)The Clips were 5-1 coming into tonight and Maggette was playing like a giant off the bench. If something ain't broken, don't try and fix it, right?

--Childress hasn't played 20 minutes in either of the last 2 games. So you got your wish there.

--Stro takes possessions off and that's not how you under playing time under JVG. He's going to have to earn the starting spot over Howard and that's probably the smartest thing you can-- give a career underachiever something to work hard for.

--As far as Ariza and Sweetney are concerned, I don't see why everyone gets so riled up over a player "not starting". This isn't college-- it's an 82 games season and you need to have rotations in order to pace yourself during games and throughout the season. Ariza and Barnes, and Sweetney and Songaila play roughly the same amount in the first half, and then whoever is hotter in the 2nd half stays on the floor. Isn't that what matters anyways? Who's on the floor to end the games?

--I have no idea why Kwame Brown sucks. He's a physical speciment. Except that he's just not a very good basketball player. Maybe that's why.

--Oklahoma City because it's fairly close to New Orleans, has a brand new arena, and is so desperate for a sports franchise that people will probably be willing to buy tickets no matter what kind of crap they throw on the floor.

--Not Vegas because they're going to have to convince all sports gamblers to take the NBA out of their books before a team ever ends up there. That's the big snag right now. Even though the Maloofs won't own the team, they're going to have to be the ones to push it, and convince other casinos to accept this. I'm not sure it's going to happen...

--Kenny is the little annoying brother that only got the gig BECAUSE of Marv. That's why he's so much worse.

-I've heard Tom Tolbert actually has a great radio show out in the Bay Area. I suppose that's how he got into TV analysis. But you're right, he really shouldn't be allowed to call games.

-LB left Detroit for a number of reasons- A) Money; B) Lifelong dream to go back home and coach the Knicks; C) New challenge; D)More power than he had in Detroit. I don't think any of this made it worth competing for a few more championships, but we'll see.

--The beard is working for Gasol. If you were his teammate would you make him shave while he's playing this well. If anything, somebody has GOT to talk to Chris Kaman.

--The Raptors actually sell tickets and Stern is going to continue to globalize the NBA and basketball. Don't blame the city and its fans for that debacle of a team. And don't worry Raptors fans-- your team isn't going anywhere.

--I think the real question is-- why aren't there more Wade and Iversons.

--You got me on Skiles and Gordon. That's a brilliant idea.

--I love the Bucks right now, but I think Larry Harris is getting a little too much praise. He didn't will T.J. Ford back to the team and that's the real reason they're sick right now. He also didn't will the team to the 1st pick in the draft. Signing Simmons was a swift, intelligent move which gave him depth and flexibility. I then think he REALLY lucked out by having the one real expendable guy on his roster, Desmond Mason, be an Oklahoma State alum, and Jamaal Magloire being on the trading block and the team trading him in desperate need of a SF. Knowing what we know now, I think Harris would have been the uber idiot for not pulling off that deal. I think the question should be: why can't more team do what the Bucks did this offseason? And the answer is because the cards don't always fall in their direction, (and most GMs are idiots).

--I think Simmons nailed the Watson signing-- they wanted to package either Watson or Miller and Nene for a big time shooter. Boy that didn't work out. You have to remember at the team though, there was no decent shooters out there. Would have loved to have seen them grab Cuttino Mobley though.

--Pryzbilla unfortunately has a guy named Theo Ratliff playing behind him, a true defensive-minded classy veteran in the Nate McMillan mold.

--Mike idea dude. He better change something though because his game is reflecting his look.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger c-los said...

1) Hamstrings are the strangest injuries in sports. No real timetable on coming back. I guess it's like Tmac's back before the game. If you feel good then u can hoop.
2)Stro sucks. Yeah he can dunk but that's about it. Juwan has a nice face up game, plays hard, and knows how to play.
3)Josh Smith doesnt play because he doesnt know how to. Yeah he can dunk but that's about it. Marvin is young and he isnt going to play over Al Harrington.
4)Ariza is so much better than Barnes. His athleticism allows him to make plays and when he's on the court the Knicks play better.
5) Being a gtown fan I agree with you. He should be starting at the 4. Yeah he is fat but he produces in the time he has.
5)Wade for MVP?...Not when you committ all the turnovers he does. Cut those down and win some more games and yeah he's up there. Still early in the season so he has time.
6)Shaq just needs to play around 25 minutes a game. He's too fat and a liability down the stretch in tight games. Best center of all time yes, 400 lbs maybe, Lakers-Shaq no.
7)Not sure y the nets stink. They could use Zo and they should have drafted Hakeem Warrick. Imagine Warrick trailing Kidd on the break with VC and RJ on the wings
8)Kwame sucks. Being a wiz fan I know one thing, he doesnt know how to play the game. He was lost in the Wiz's system so there is no way he is gonna get the triangle. He will always be that guy MJ made cry in practice.
9)I watched that Jazz-Bulls game and Mehmet was hoopin. His midrange J was soaking wet. If Snoozer comes back their frontcourt will be nice.

Nuggets will easily win their division by about 5-10 games. Alot of weed will make you look older. Not a chance in Vegas. Bradley will forever be remembered as getting dunked on and beat up all the time. Most analysts are sorry. Maybe the Bobby Jackson of 4 years ago. Larry Brown sucks. Always leaving jobs and is the most boring talker of all time. I like Gasol's Paul Bunyan impersonation. Looks rugged. BBall should have never went to Canada. Havent seen the commercial. BG will turn it around. Bucks got lucky with TJ and the pick but were very smart to trade Mason for Magloire and draft Bogut. Cant believe Tiger Woods gets all that money to sit on the bench. Nate is a good coach, look at how shitty the Sonics are so far with almost the same team sans Jerome James. Only thing I see wrong with Bibby is his game. Over glorified Jump shooter playing a good system

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

C-los, I hope you're not saying you LIKE Bibby's beard? That would only mean one thing, that you have a similar one. Nice post otherwise

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Prescott said...

I may not know too much about basketball but as a student looking to get a broadcast journalism major I can tell you that Kenny Albert does not have a good TV voice. It sounds like he's talking out of his nose. Marv Albert is more likable too. We know what Marv likes outside of the NBA, who knows a damn thing about Kenny Albert? He probably sells poison milk to school children for all we know, but he has no personality. I didn't even know Kenny Albert was calling NBA games. Plus what is going on with his hair? He looks like he wants to be Conan O'Brien but just can't get it. Pain and simple, the man is a bum.

Where the hell is Dick Stockton? Why isn't he calling basketball games? Those are more important questions.

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want anyone to broadcast games anymore unless they like the game and each other. I don't think they need to know anything about it, but if they're having fun, then the viewer will have fun. Exactly why the TNT guys are great, because they like basketball (it shows) and they like each other (it shows), PLUS they know their shit. I go to a tiny college and we broadcast our football games over our radio station, and our announcers are terrific because they like football and they're best friends. Do they know everything about the game? No, they're only college kids who like football. But would I listen to them over every single team in a booth? Absolutely.

That's exactly why I enjoy this site. Because you guys LIKE basketball, you may have even played some in high school and college, who knows, but you genuinely like the NBA. In fact, that's the reason I started reading this page and still check it for updates multiple times daily...your double article on the things you love about the NBA (split up in the middle with Oh The Places Antoine's Shimmy Will Go, which I show to everyone of my friends who even remotely likes the NBA).

I'm paraphrasing, but Simmons always says that if the media doesn't make sports more fun to follow, then it's useless. You guys make basketball fun to follow and I'd rather hear your take on the NBA than any corporation that takes themselves too seriously like FOXSports, Yahoo, CBS, and even (sadly) ESPN.

Now that I'm done with all that shit, and would respond to the "Why don't more teams do what the Bucks did this offseason," with...Instead of that, I'm asking "Why don't more teams do what the Nuggets did?" They completely dismantled their never-going-to-be-more-than-mediocre team and in 3 years are one of the only teams that is tough and talented enough to take down San Antonio. I agree, they probably got just as lucky as the Bucks what with K-Mart becomming a FA, and Melo being drafted, but I'd definitely set that as the benchmark of success.



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