Wow. This last year has really taken a lot out of me as an NBA fan. First, Carmelo leaves, then the owners lock out the players. I might start a Major League Lacrosse blog.
Actually, don’t worry. I’ve got a lot of ranting about the lockout. I’ll be back – don’t you worry.
I guess it’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been in a state of depression since the Carmelo drama. Maybe I’ll start back in soon. (It may be a Nuggets/Knicks blog, though.)
Have you noticed that in the space of 6 months, Ray Allen has alternated (in media perception) between being two steps slower than Redd Foxx and being the greatest tw0-guard not named Kobe or DWade? At the trade deadline, he was deemed worth no more than a pocketful of nickels. After the Cleveland series, he was supposedly better than the whole Cleveland team (besides LBJ). The Finals has been a microcosm of the season for him. The point of this diatribe is that the media and general population are addicted to immediate results and analysis, which allows for myopic judgements.
Clearly, Ray Allen is somewhere between the two extremes. Where? For my money, it’s almost impossible to judge. I believe the Celtics are the perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I think Rondo is the only Celtic who could realistically (now) be considered top-5 at his position (and that’s a stretch, to be honest). I think you could make a case that none of the big 3 are top 10 at their respective positions. However, I heard it repeated over and over again that on the Cavs, only LeBron was better than the quartet of Rondo, Garnett, Pierce and Allen. Maybe that’s true, but I believe that the reason it seems so cut and dried is because the Celtics are a TEAM, and that fact magnifies the strengths of each while covering some of their weaknesses.
Before they became the 2008 champs, each of the big 3 was toiling on mediocre teams. Each had played on teams with other great players, but had been ultimately unsuccessful. Is it possible that each got better? Doubtful. Honestly, only Garnett was ever a transcendent talent, but he was overshadowed by his tendency to shrink from the moment. Pierce and Allen were both one-dimensional. When they came together, their talents meshed, and I believe that Garnett demanded more defense and intensity from the other two, while they, in turn took the pressure off of Garnett to make plays in crunch time.
In a perfect world, we could make accurate judgements about the relative merits of individual players, but we’ll probably have to stick with overly-analytical number-crunchers and what-have-you-done-for-me-lately snap-judgements. Oh well. At least I’ll have something to bitch about.
Have to admit, I’m not thrilled with the prospect of another Celtics-Lakers final. I’m so blah with this finals that I started writing this post a week ago, and I’m finally getting around to finishing it. I know, I know, all you Lakers and Celtics fans and all the morons who “just like good basketball” (but actually know nothing about basketball except “Phil Jackson is a really good coach”) are just salivating, but tell me honestly what’s more exciting: a) Phoenix/Orlando wins first championship, b) broken-nosed Canadian/mild-mannered giant leads team to NBA history, or c) Laker/Celtics win umpteenth championship.
It’s like the age-old argument – would you rather be a Yankee star for a year or two, or be an all-time great Rockie/Astro/Marlin/Brewer/etc/etc? I choose all-time great over being a lesser light in the pinstripe pantheon, because, hey, free drinks anywhere you go in that city! Another championship for L.A. or Boston would be nice, look good in the trophy case and all, but it’s kind of expected. More than kind of. Not earth-shaking like it would be for most other cities.
Game 1 is in the books. Yawn.
Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. The game wasn’t too painful, but you never got the sense the Lakers were threatened.
Shouldn’t Perkins get that next technical out of the way soon? Because you know it’s coming. Serve the suspension early in the series and get back to what you do best: be a nasty agitator.
Speaking of agitators, Artest was in fine form. Not many guys can get away with taking a guy down like he did and have everyone just chuckle, “Oh, that’s just Ron being a knucklehead! Just Ron’s way of getting under an opponent’s skin!” But the way he and Paul Pierce went down, he could have dislocated or broken Pierce’s arm… which is actually pretty serious, and the NBA should fine and warn him. Fortunately for Pierce, Staples Center has plenty of wheelchairs on hand…
Was it the right decision to dump Ariza and sign Artest? Obviously you can’t base the analysis on one play, but…did you see his latest? 1:00 left, Lakers up 3 and Ron-Ron bricks a tough 18-footer, but Gasol grabs an impossible offensive board and kicks it out…to Artest. Pull it out? Work the clock? Nope. Ron, he of the 1/7 three-point shooting jacks it up.
UPDATE! While I’m typing this post, Artest outbattles Richardson for the offensive board and makes the putback to win the game. So, maybe you’ve got to take the good with the bad with Mr. Artest. It’s still a tough call, if you ask me.
There’s a very interesting analysis of Carmelo Anthony on the Roundball Mining Company: How Good is Carmelo Anthony
I agree with a lot of what he has to say. The only real issue I have is with Carmelo’s passing. Anthony definitely doesn’t get a lot of assists, but I think he passes pretty well. Even if you are correctly scoring assists, they don’t tell the whole story. Oftentimes, the best pass in a possession is the pass that leads to the assist, not the actual assist pass. Some players have gaudy assist statistics but aren’t really good passers – they pass to get an assist, not to create the best possible scoring chance. I thought Carmelo did a good job of passing out of the double-team, but rarely got an assist for his effort. However, in those cases, the Nuggets seemed to have a much better chance to score. And I don’t think that’s something you can judge simply by examining the stat record on 82games.com.