The End of the Bench

Basketball blog with takes on basketball and anything related to basketball . . . as well as a haven for jingoists everywhere - in America.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Know Your Role and Shut Your Mouth

Sunday, Tracy McGrady guaranteed a Magic win in game 4 of their series with the Hornets. He followed that line up with this one: "He's not the best player (in this series)," said McGrady, who is averaging 29.3 points, seven rebounds and 5.3 assists in the three games. "I am. No question, no question." The "he" in that line is Baron Davis, who had dropped a triple double (33 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) on the Magic Saturday. All that talking got McGrady was playoff elimination as the Hornets beat the Magic tonight 102-85 . . . oh and also another Baron Davis triple double (28 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists). So the lesson of the day is . . . just because there's a microphone in front of you face doesn't mean you need to use it (I'm talking to you Tracy . . . and you too Vlade). Doc Rivers can try and excuse his comments all he wants by saying he is only 22. I'm 21 and I'm smart enough to know not to shoot my mouth off like that. It's a recipe for disaster. Hopefully T-Mac has learned his lesson.

West joins Grizzlies

If you're a Grizzlies fan, you have to be smiling right now. Now I don't think that having Jerry West in the organization automatically means the Grizzlies are gonna be pushing for a ring in 3 years. However, at least they're making the effort. Even if there are no immediate results, just having Jerry West as a part of the organization makes people look at the Grizzlies in a different way. There is a difference now between the Grizzlies and other cellar dweller teams like Golden State and Denver. The Grizzlies now have someone there who knows what it takes to get things done and has the track record to show it. The Warriors have some good young talent on the court like the Grizzlies, but are chronically mismanaged. The Nuggets have . . . well they're the Nuggets. The difference is hope. Memphis has it now and teams like Golden State and Denver don't. Props to the Grizzlies for at least trying.

Monday, April 29, 2002
Wiley: How to fix the Knix -- and quix

This was a pretty good piece. Some humor and some seriousness about how the Knicks got so bad and some ways to fix it. And he also subscribes to the NBA Draft Lottery Conspiracy Theory. I think I may be the only one that doesn't.

Support growing for instant replay of last-second shots

"In that (Hornets-Magic) situation, with replay, it would have been reversed," David Stern told a reporter while attending Saturday's San Antonio-Seattle game. "If you're going to go with the clock, you have to go with it."

Amen to that. They need to get this done yesterday. And by the way, Bernie Fryer has probably refereed his last playoff game. It might not have been so bad if it weren't for his line about how "he didn't believe a player could 'catch, cock for a three-pointer and let go' in seven-tenths of a second." Sometimes its better to keep things to yourself Bernie. Now everyone thinks you are a moron.

Friday, April 26, 2002
At least Ben still believes in them . . .

"Once again, handling themselves with all the poise of a rabid squirrel cornered by a badger, we present: The Portland Trailblazers, three and out."
-- Tim Keown from his column "Gimme Five" for

Ouch. However I do like how he worked "rabid squirrel" into his article.

Rule creates tough choices for players, programs

Actually it doesn't. I'll let Russ Granik, NBA deputy commissioner, explain it: "I don't think they understand. If a player slips to No. 28 in the first round, then that team owns the player's rights at that salary even if that player turns out to be the college player of the year four years later. I don't think anybody would do this if they understood how the rules work."

So basically this rule is useless. Except it helps the average fan see how panicked the NCAA is about their product. I'll bet this was heard in the NCAA headquarters last week: "Our product sucks becuase all our good players are going to the NBA before they graduate and in some cases before they even play in college. We need a rule to get them to come back to us and we need it yesterday. Let's make this rule about being able to come back for high school players. Hahaha . . . we really got over on the NBA this time."

If anything, using this rule could hurt a player. Note the following: "A second-round choice would make even more of a mistake, considering he would be stuck at the current league minimum of $349,000. If that minimum continued to rise, which it does, throughout his years in college, then the player would make below the minimum. The only way to become a free agent would be to wait a full season after the player leaves college."

Silly NCAA, the NBA is for kids.

Thursday, April 25, 2002
I Don't Get It . . .

Why is TNT letting Magic Johnson on television AND letting him talk? He is brutal. He isn't brutal in a Bill Walton way. At least Magic can be shadowed by Chuck, Kenny and Ernie. If Magic Johnson butchered his TV show what makes them think he would be any better as a studio analyst? This is a personal plea to Ted Turner: Please . . . PLEASE get Magic off the air.

Monday, April 22, 2002
Canadian anthem booed before Detroit-Toronto game

Why? This makes no sense. What has Canada done to deserve that? Granted they are to blame for Bryan Adams and Celine Dion, but that's no reason to boo their national anthem. And while we're talking about this game, could they have been a worse in the scoring department. They scored a combined 25 points in the first quarter! Toronto shot 23 of 77. That's a whopping 29.9% Yowza, that's bad. Detroit was better though as they shot 31 of 77 for a 40.3% clip. That's not very good either. Glad I didn't have to suffer through watching that game. Ben Wallace grabbed 20 rebounds, but that probably wasn't that great accomplishment in this game seeing how there were plenty of missed shots to go around.

Also, I still want to know who you are and how you found me. Please leave it in the comments page. Please . . .

Friday, April 19, 2002
I Have a Few Requests for the Readers . . .

I need you readers to try and do a few things for me:
1) Someone get me Bill Simmons' email address. I have tried and tried, but to no avail. Whoever gets it for me gets . . . ummmm . . . I'll be your best friend?

2) I finally found the Bill Simmons column explaining the Ewng Theory. That only took me two months . . .

3) I wanna know who is reading this stuff and how you found it (friend of mine, other site . . . If it was another site, please tell me which one so I can thank them). Really I just want to make sure I'm not talking to myself. So if you all would simply leave your name and in the comments box, tell me how you happened upon my site, I would be grateful. Thanks all.

Thursday, April 18, 2002
Let The (Playoff) Games Begin!

Finally, the playoffs have arrived. I would like to lead off this article with a message to Bucks fans: "Step back from the ledge. It'll be okay." Second thing is, I want to see the Pacers get swept in the first round. I just don't like the Pacers, and in particular Reggie Miller. I don't know if it's the ears or what, but I can't stand Miller. I would also like to see the Celtics lose in the first round, but that's only because they're playing the Sixers. Now if some of you are looking for a team to root for because your team sucks and couldn't manage to get into the top 50% of the NBA, here are my top 5 prospective angles you could choose.

1) The "Screw You" factor: The Hornets fit this one perfectly. The perfect scenario has the Hornets getting to the Finals and only 4,000 people showing up for the games in Charlotte. That would be the perfect going away present for the current owners of the allegedly soon to be New Orlans Hornets. In reality, the team does have talent (Baron Davis, Jamal Mashburn, and one of the best lunch pail players in the league in PJ Brown) and in the East, everyone is a contender. It could happen.

2) The "Hey Those Guys Are Old Like I Am" factor: This one is for my older readers (if I even have any). The Utah Jazz are right up your alley. John Stockton just turned 40 and him and his partner in crime (and elbowing and hard picks and . . . ), Karl Malone, are back for yet another return engagement in the playoffs. Personally, all the stories about John Stockton's alleged dirty play (elbows, sticking his leg out on picks, etc.) makes me like him even more. However, no amount of fans is gonna get these guys past the Kings in the first round. This team is the basketball equivalent of "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain." Andre Kirilenko is a good young player, but they are carrying Greg Ostertag and Rusty LaRue on the roster for christ sakes! And one must also consider that the Kings have the Chucky Brown kharma on their side. Don't mess with the Chucky Brown kharma or the Chucky Brown Fan Club (CBFC) will be looking for your head. On a side note, the CBFC had a picture up with the following on it: "3 blks per 9 min = 16 blks per 48 min = Chuckeem Brolajuwon" How can I beat that?

3) The "I'm Canadian and they're from Canada" factor: Unless you're stupid, you know I speak of the Toronto Raptors here. I don't think they stand a chance against Detroit and Ben Wallace and his magic hair, but we could be seeing Bill Simmons' Ewing Theory at work here. Basically it works like this: Star is healthy and team plays somewhere between bad and average (in the Knicks case it was Patrick Ewing) and once that player gets hurt the team plays like they are a bunch of All-Stars. The Raptors 18 games before Vince Carter's announcement that he was done for the season: 1-17. The 14 games after: 12-2. Could be interesting.

4) The "I Want to See a Good One on One Matchup" Factor: This goes to the Blazers. Many of you are sitting there puzzled right now trying to think of what the great matchup is (Rasheed Wallace and Shaq? Kobe and Derek Anderson?), so I give you this quote from Bonzi Wells: "We're going to put 'Sheed (Rasheed Wallace) on Shaq, (Shawn) Kemp on Shaq, Dale on Shaq, whoever we can find ... my momma on Shaq. We're going to put everybody on Shaq to try to stop him." The battle between Shaquille O'Neal and Bonzi Wells' mother will be epic. I am assuming (and hoping for in the case of Mr. Wells) that Shaq has a serious size advantage. However, one must consider that Bonzi's mom has the secret weapon: authority. I don't care if you're 7+ feet tall and 300+ pounds, when a mom gives you the "mother's look of death," you do what she says. So the plan should be to shut down Kobe Bryant and let Bonzi's mom do her thing. I wonder how they got her under the salary cap . . .

5) The "I Like To See the Meltdown Live and not on SportsCenter" Factor: The thought did occur to me to use the Blazers for this one, but there is an even better choice here. The Dallas Mavericks may not meltdown as a team, but there hasn't been a single Nick Van Exel outburst since he got traded. Now I guess it could be due to the fact that he is now content playing for a title contender. Or it could be he's just been keeping it inside and letting it build up. Does anyone think that Nick Van Exel isn't bothered by the fact that his shots have been cut in half or the fact that he plays ten minutes less in Dallas? I think we're gonna see some fireworks. The history is there with Van Exel (he did headbutt a referee) and Don Nelson too (remember him and Chris Webber in Golden State?). I just hope everyone has on helmets and fire retardant suits when Nick the Quick goes off.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002
10 Burning Questions with Moochie Norris

This may have vaulted Moochie Norris into the #1 position on my list of favorite non-Sixers. He loses points for this line: "I listen to jazz, rock 'n' roll, I'm a Celine Dion fan. I just bought Creed. I just like all kinds of music. I like it all." Celine Dion? Creed? Moochie helped his case with the Bill Simmons thing. Not only does he know of Simmons' obsession with him, but he wants to get together to do a special article with him too. In the words of Simmons, "I am not asking for this, I'm demanding it. This must happen." But the thing that puts him over the top is that he is a fan of the Transformers. How can I not be a fan of a guy who likes transformers? Screw that Go-Bot, Pokemon crap. It's all about Transformers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Sprewell hit with fine by Knicks

So let me get this straight. Latrell Sprewell misses a shoot-around and gets fined $125,000. Jason Kidd flips off a fan at a game and gets a $5,000 fine. Now either a) there is some messed up math goin on in New York or b) there is a bit more to Spree's fine than missing a shootaround. I'm gonna go with b).

Editor's note: The $125,000 figure includes the pay he lost because the Knicks suspended him for the game without pay. It still seems pretty steep though.

Monday, April 15, 2002
Missing three starters, Sixers cruise

The Sixers made the playoffs just as I knew they would. Now don't get me wrong. That isn't to say I wasn't concerned. I just had a good feeling about it . . . and that feeling goes by the name of Larry Brown. Watch out Orlando!

Friday, April 12, 2002
Look out below!!!!!!

It is a bad time to be a Bucks fan. Note the following:

NBA Standings
       Team         W  L     W%   GB   Home   Road    PF    PA   Streak  Last 10

7 Toronto 40 39 .506 11 22-17 18-22 91.2 91.9 Won 1 9-1
8 Milwaukee 39 40 .494 12 23-16 16-24 97.5 97.6 Lost 5 2-8

I did my best with the formatting there. Anyway, the key things to note are the "Streak" and the "Last 10". 2-8? The Bucks are dropping like a rock. Now I know there have been a lot of injuries, but they were 28-18 at the All-Star break. There were games they should've won before the break too. For example a 7 point loss to Chicago (aren't they in the NBDL yet?) on New Year's Eve. There were at least 2 other games like that before the break. I am guessing there were others after the break too. You have those "should've wons" in the record and that is a 6 game swing. Instead of talking about if the Bucks are gonna miss the playoffs we are talking about if the Bucks will lose the home court in the first round. Everyone who says those early season games don't matter as much should talk to George Karl. But this is reality, and in reality the Bucks super slide in combination with the Raptors Vince-less run have the Bucks on the verge of one of the biggest collapses in recent history. That's why you gotta win the ones you're supposed to.

'Rounders' and roundball, part 2

Part 2 of Simmons awards. If you read yesterday's post, you know how I feel. Go read it! Now!!!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2002
'Rounders' and roundball, part 1

Bill Simmons' year end NBA awards. If you've seen and liked Rounders (like me), you MUST read this. Go read it now!!!!

Tuesday, April 09, 2002
I'm Expecting the Call from ESPN Anyday Now

So I was reading Jefferson George's April 8th edition of String Music on Fantasy Section and I came across this:

"Camby has never played more than 63 games in a season, meaning he's a lock to miss at least a quarter of his games every year. This season Camby outdid himself, starting out hurt, coming back for a couple of months, then going down again. That's a total of 29 games, or 35 percent."

To regular EotB readers that should sound familiar. That's because I wrote something pretty similar to that . . . about a month and a half ago (February 25th to be exact). Hey Jeff, I'm comin' for your job buddy! Watch out!

Friday, April 05, 2002
Blow It Up!!!!!

I was having a conversation with one of my old roommates about who the Warriors should keep if they are gonna rebuild (aren't they always rebuilding?) and I thought it would be fun to do a couple of teams this way. So the question is, if you're gonna start your favorite team over again who do you keep that's currently on that team? I'll start with my favorite team - the Sixers.

Sixers: The obvious one is Allen Iverson. I'll assume everyone reading this doesn't need me to explain that one to them. The next one I keep is Speedy Claxton. First off, he's young. That's a big plus if I'm starting over. Second is he has that nice rookie contract still. He can be a scorer if he needs to and gets enough minutes, but the assist numbers concern me. He's only topped 5 assists 5 times this season and in 9 games where he has topped 35 minutes he has topped 5 assists in only 3. I wonder whether he really can be a true point guard, but at his age and price one season is too quick to give up on him. There are other younger guys that I just haven't seen enough of to really know what I think of them (Sam Delambert and Damone Brown), so I reserve the option to change my mind about them. At this point, AI and Claxton are the only ones I keep.

Warriors: This is the team that inspired this post so I gotta do them too. This team actually has more guys I would keep than most other teams. Without looking at any references, my roommate said he would take Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson. I disagreed and said I would'nt take Jamison. After looking at the roster it's obvious that we missed one (Troy Murphy) and I was soooooooooooo right about Jamison. The reasoning behind cutting Jamison is that contract of his. No way I pay him 84M over 6 years if I'm trying to win anytime soon. Anyone who's seen SportsCenter in the past 3 months knows about Richardson. The guy can flat out score. Arenas has been starting and getting minutes lately and responded with 13.4 points and 4.8 assists in about 30 minutes per game. With a few more minutes per game, those numbers get even better. Murphy has shown flashes (8.3 points and 7.8 boards in about 30 minutes in 4 games as a starter), has the rookie contract and you just can't teach someone to be 6-11.

So those are the two I'm gonna do. I wanna hear from some of you readers. Pick a team and do your own or tell me how bad mine were. Either way will do. Just let me know I'm not talking to myself:)

Wednesday, April 03, 2002
Wizards place Jordan on injured reserve

I was afraid this would happen. I had a feeling his body wouldn't be able to hold up, but I was hoping. Now the question becomes, does he come back next year? Personally, I'm not sure which way I would go on that one.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Report: Van Gundy to coach WNBA's Mystics

Apparently he wants to coach players who will listen. Also he wants to coach bad basketball I guess. I know this will open me up to feminism hate mail, but the WNBA is just boring and it can't compare to the NBA. I honestly don't understand this decision on Jeff VanGundy's part. Did the NBDL not have any openings? CBA wouldn't take him? Maybe the whole "players don't listen to me" thing is true, but what makes him think the women's players are gonna listen to him? That assumption in itself is sexist as well. So in conclusion, the WNBA sucks, Jeff Van Gundy makes no sense and bring on the feminist hate mail!

ESPN The Magazine: DC United by Tom Friend

The Sixers are being held together by Derrick Coleman? This is the equivalent of being told your house is actually built on a foundation of toothpicks and gumdrops. As a Sixers fan, I cringe when hearing this. Get well soon Allen.

Monday, April 01, 2002
When it mattered, Terrapins found their game

I hope you all don't think less of me, but I didn't watch the game. I was at the Oakland A's home opener. Good news though. I didn't finish last in any of my tournament pools.