It’s Sunday afternoon, time for some pictures of NBA shoes (from the Wizards-Hawks matchup on April 10th), some recent links, and some commentary.
Nick Young’s Blues
Game of the Year
Bullets Forever had a ‘vote for the game of the year’ award. The winner looks to be the season opening win in Dallas over the November 18th home win against Cleveland (the last signs of life from a now dead rivalry), the December 2nd home win against Milwaukee (the ‘Gilbert Arenas feels profiled by the refs’ game), the February 5th win at Orland (Caron Butler’s last dagger), and the April 9th win at Boston (Blatche’s revenge on Garnett barely holds on).
Personally, although the season opening win against the Mavericks was great, voting for it as game of the year is the equivalent of thinking that mirage in the desert will bring you water. The game serves as a cruel reminder of what could have been that mocks the overall disappointment of the season.
My vote for game of the year goes to the February 19th win against the Denver Nuggets at the Verizon Center. The new guys (Josh Howard, Al Thornton and James Singleton) were hustling, Nick Young was diving on the floor for loose balls and taking on the challenge of guarding Chauncey Billups, and for the first time in a long time, if not all season, the Wizards were exciting and worth watching at home. The icing on the cake was that the win came against a quality opponent, a Denver team featuring Baltimore’s own Carmelo Anthony.
Al Horford, Fabricio Oberto & Marvin Williams lined up
‘Twan Gushing Over LeBron
The DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg brings us some recent gushing Antawn Jamison did over LeBron James in a radio interview on the Colin Cowherd show. Steinberg, however, turns the moment into a Sports Bog post that’s wrought with over-dramatic sentiment. Dan writes, “This isn’t picking at a scab, this is ripping a scab off with fiery pincers laced with various communicable diseases, dousing the scab with hot sauce and shoving it down your throat, along with a bunch of other crusty scabs found in the sweaty fur suit of G-Wiz.” Um, wow. If you feel this way, you’re probably paying way too much homage to a self-anointed king.
To recap … for Wizards fans it’s painful to see Jamison in a Cavaliers uniform. Most also can’t bring themselves to root for Jamison to win a title with Lebron … although, a select few would like to see the former Wizard with a ring regardless. Me? I could care less about Antawn’s championship aspirations while he’s a member of the Cavs. Down with Cleveland.
Okay, to what was said the interview. Jamison praises LeBron for his work ethic and being a good teammate and then specifically compares James’ work ethic to that of Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Gilbert Arenas. For one, I don’t think any “hater” of LeBron has ever denied/questioned that the guy works hard and is a good teammate (although a bad winner via shucking-and-jiving before the game is over, and sore loser via not shaking hands with the Magic after losing to them in the ’09 playoffs). No big shocker here … it’s expected that LeBron possesses those qualities. Steinberg, however, takes the LeBron/Arenas comparison and runs with it, selling it as a point of pain and suffering for Wizards fans. But I really don’t think comparing the sole “working hard” aspect of each of those players should be a point of strife for Wizards fans. It’s a ho-hum matter of fact.
Jamison then touches on the championship expectations in Cleveland, alluding to it being much more pressure filled than his past experiences. I shrug my shoulders and concur. The hopes of Cleveland are so entrenched in winning an NBA title, especially with LeBron’s impending free-agency that’s held the city hostage, that it seems reasonable for Antawn to outline praise of LeBron in the face of pressure to succeed. Basketball expectations in Cleveland are much different than those in D.C. — nothing more than a shoulder shrugging affair.
So, best wishes to Jamison as he fights alongside the enemy, but any glowing compliments by ‘Twan about LeBron should not be seen as a slap to the face of Wizards fans. They are what they are.
Joe Johnson Kicks It
To Foul or Not To Foul
In early March I posed a late game ‘to foul or not foul when up three points’ basketball scenario to several Wizards. The results were mixed (video below). In a poll I put on this site, 67.5% of the respondents would choose to foul, not giving the opponent a chance to tie the game with a three. The remaining 32.5% would play tough defense and hope for a miss.
Jonathan Abrams and Howard Beck of the New York Times recently came out with a good piece breaking down thought leadership on the matter … but with no absolute conclusion. The article does, however, point out that according to Synergy Sports Technology, the situation presented itself 165 times over the last two seasons and teams only deliberately fouled 19 times.
SB Nation further breaks down the scenario mathematically, but ultimately, the decision depends on a large number of variables. So maybe it’s just best for a coach to go with his gut feeling and hope for the best.
Mike Bibby’s Flip-Flops
Quick Hitting Links
>> Rashad Mobley of Hoops Addict catches up with Mike Jones, former Wizards beat reporter for the Washington Times and current contributor to CSN Washington.
>> Speaking of Jones, on CSN Washington he grades the Wizards’ forwards and centers.
>> Bullets Forever has a fun/enjoyable post on the Wizards’ 2009-10 irreverent awards. My favorite: Mike Miller winning the ‘Rex Chapman Award For The Man Made Out Of Glass’.
>> Speaking of awards, Andray Blatche finished 12th in the NBA’s Most Improved Player award voting — but, as Michael Lee tells us via Wizards Insider, the NBA got Blatche’s first name wrong on the ballot, denoting him as ‘Andrew’ not ‘Andray’. Blatche’s response when Lee informed him of the mishap: “Lol”.
Mo Evans’ Converse Kicks
An Agent Being An Agent
Recently agent Arn Tellem railed against the NCAA in the Huffington Post (h/t to Pro Basketball Talk) for bumping up to May 8th their deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to school. The NBA deadline to withdraw (which now applies to international players) is June 14th. With the deadline to declare for the NBA draft being April 25th, NCAA athletes now have only about two weeks to be evaluated by NBA teams before making a career-altering decision (actually less since the official early entrant list doesn’t come out until April 29th).
Tellem writes, “The priority of the NCAA should be student-athletes, not the schools they attend,” although he is cognizant that the end of the NCAA’s regular signing period comes on May 19th. So college coaches now only have about 11 days to fill holes in their rosters should their program be faced with early departures. Before, coaches were faced with unfilled roster spots.
Tellem clearly takes his biased opinion because he mostly represents players.
The NCAA has a ton of problems and very Draconian ways as an institution. However, I don’t think it’s “designed to protect and serve” the best interests of the players as Tellem claims. Reasonably, the NCAA is designed to look out for its players, coaches and teams, and especially the composition of those teams for the future and not necessarily the potential pro aspirations of the departed.
The NCAA moved their date up to May 8th … so what? If a player is good enough to be a top-level NBA prospect, I think he’ll make due. If not? Well, either go back to school or prepare for basketball in the D-League or overseas.
Joe Smith and James Singleton
The NBA and The Tipping Point
Stephen Jackson once met Malcolm Gladwell, and a recent article entitled, ‘Stephen Jackson: The undersung star’ by Jemele Hill on ESPN.com leads with, “Stephen Jackson and I are discussing author Malcolm Gladwell. Specifically, the impact that one of Gladwell’s books had on his life.”
On how said book, “The Tipping Point”, affected his life, Jackson says, “‘The Tipping Point’ helped me kind of look at things before I make decisions. It was a different book for me. I wasn’t a book reader. It was more of a book that gave me advice on how to handle different situations.”
But that’s it. In terms of what happened when Jackson, along with Matt Barnes and Baron Davis, met Gladwell as members of the Golden State Warriors, all we really get is a quote from Jackson saying, “He kind of reminds of that guy on that Dos Equis commercial.”
Sure, I realize the article is about Stephen Jackson, but it’s pretty disappointing how it sets you up with what perhaps might be a deeper look into how Jackson has been affected by a literary work , and meeting its author, but then just drops you with Jackson simply calling the meeting “special” and then moves on. Just saying, it would have been interesting to know more about Jackson and Gladwell.
Marvin Williams’ Red Nikes
Jamal Crawford’s Black Reeboks
Zaza Pachulia’s Navy and Red Nikes
Even though he can’t chew on them during games anymore, Caron Butler and straws won’t die.
JaVale McGee and Josh Smith