When did the inmates take over the NBA asylum? It’s the New Year and I awaken hung over to the “New York Post” headline “NBA Gun Play” as Agent Zero drew a gun on his teammate. This is just one of the oddities. Last week our other crazy Ron Artest fell up the steps then changed his tune and said he fell on concrete. The kicker? He can’t even remember what happened.
Seems that Ron may have had a bit too much to drink and blacked out. Now Artest isn’t playing due to a concussion and it’s a sure thing that Arenas will not be playing in the association in the near future. I’m afraid I’ll wake up tomorrow and Al Harrington will be running around NYC naked drinking a bottle of Hennessy with Dennis Rodman in a dress. I’m sure New York Vinnie would love to write about that!
The NBA is becoming the laughing stock of the four professional sports. I feel like the NBA is becoming the romper room of death.Why is it that David Stern isn’t speaking up? If you don’t look you can’t speak David. Take your head out of your keister and lay down the law. Take control of your league so that the “basketball purists” get back to debating the amazing play of the Suns and Lakers.
The Suns are on a role starting the New Year with 21 wins (only 4 wins away from the Lakers). They unloaded Shaq and went back to the system that D’Antoni perfected (and is failing at implementing in NYC). Add that to MVP candidate Steve Nash and we have a contender. Not a championship caliber team but a legit 3 seed out of the West. They score a league leading 110 PPG. The drawback as usual is that they give up 105 PPG.
The Lakers score 104 PPG and only give up 97 PPG. Better yet look at the Spurs who score 102 PPG and only give up 96 PPG. Leopards don’t change their spots. Alvin Gentry has them back in contention. Without defense they will not win the big dance but they will be a blast to watch. Though with Nash playing the way he is and the resurgence of Amare they are back to their 2004 glory.
The biggest change is a constant up tempo style with spot on 3 point shooting from Steve Nash, Channing Frye and Jarred Dudley. Frye is 9th in the NBA with a .442 three point percentage. Dudley is first with a .505 three point percentage. It doesn’t hurt that Nash is 12th in three point percentage at .433 and 1st in assists at 11 per game.
I love two types of ball. 1) ALL OFFENSE ALL THE TIME like the traditional Suns and 2) ALL DEFENSE like Larry Brown coached team (aka the Bobcats) or the current version of the Celtics and Spurs. There is nothing better in professional basketball then those styles clashing.
I’m rooting for a Celtics/Suns NBA Finals. Though the odds of this are remote I yearn for this. I’m tired of the Lakers dominating the NBA. Without Ron Artest the Lakers struggle. How can this team repeat as the champions when they lose one player? Not even their superstar. They definitely don’t have the heart of the Rockets.
The Rockets don’t have any superstars and they are 20-13. They are winning with players like Chuck Hayes, Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza, and Shane Battier. They are a gritty team of role players that play great defense with clutch shooting. They bought into the Rick Adelman system. Adelman is the most unrated coach in the NBA. Heck they are playing so well Tracy McGrady will be moved. I give the Rockets organization mad props.
As I move through my random reflection of basketball purism how can I leave out my favorite rent a coach of all time…Larry Brown! Brown and MJ have shaped the Bobcats into a playoff team. They will sneak in as a 7 or 8 seed. The Stephen Jackson acquisition was a great move. They have the best defense in the NBA only giving up 92.5 PPG. But their offense is only scoring 91.7 PPG. Stephen Jackson may turn into the Allen Iverson of the 76ers in 2001.
Obviously he won’t be as successful because the puzzle pieces Brown has don’t quite fit. S-Jax isn’t as prolific as AI. S-Jax is 27th in the NBA in scoring at 18.4 PPG. By the time the Playoffs role around he will be in the top 15 in scoring. S-Jax does have a bit more help then AI had in 2001 with the presence of Gerald Wallace (who averages 17.9 PPG). If anyone can keep the egos of S-Jax and Wallace together it is Larry Brown. He has had plenty of practice over the years.
As I wrap up my random thoughts of the New Year I wonder if the LA Clippers will ever get it together. How Mike Dunleavy keeps his job is a mystery to me. That team has so much talent yet they always underachieve. Even with an older Baron Davis they have so many promising players with Kaman, Butler, Thorton, and Gordon. If they don’t get it together when Blake Griffin finally gets back on the court Dunleavy better get the pink slip. I guarantee you if Byron Scott could get this team in the playoffs. He was fired for a lot less then Mike Dunleavy. Mike you’re on notice. Get the job done or get a packing out of LA…you’re stealing money!