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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Friday, December 27, 2002

I found it. Well actually Ben Matasar found it. The it I refer to is the infamous Doug Christie NY TImes article. The article talked about by Bill Simmons . This is a must read. It is high - HIGH - comedy. I offer you some direct quotes:

"Reporters who cover Christie's former team, the Toronto Raptors, were so intrigued by the couple's sign language that they created a betting pool when the Raptors played at Sacramento last November. By their count, Christie signaled his wife 62 times during the game."

"With few exceptions, Doug Christie does not look at other women, avoiding dialogue or even eye contact."

"During Christie's time in Toronto, Jackie was uncomfortable that women working for the Raptors went into the locker room to distribute statistics after games. So Doug began dressing in an adjacent room."

She added: 'Doug is allowed to look at females. I would prefer he didn't.'"

Nothing I could say could do this justice. You MUST read this for the comedy alone. I will say one thing about Doug's "friends" though. If he had any friends at all, they would have told him to run - and run quickly away from her. I mean Jesus man. She "would prefer he didn't" look at other women. She has a few issues friends. Friends don't let friends get with girls that are jealous, possessive and all together crazy.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002
Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 24, 2002
How to right the good ship Laker

Charley Rosen suggests thinking about trading Kobe Bryant (who isn't the problem unless your name is Charley Rosen), but then he says a suitable trade couldn't be worked out. This is the quote:

"Ignoring any niceties of salary-cap considerations, the problem here is getting equal talent value. Tracy McGrady isn't nearly as good as Bryant. Grant Hill is too fragile. Jason Kidd is unavailable and, besides, the Lakers would have to totally revamp their team to accommodate Kidd's uptempo talents. Who else could be the other half of a fantasy trade? Allen Iverson? Even more selfish and undisciplined than Bryant. Vince Carter? Even more immature. Paul Pierce? See Iverson above. Antoine Walker? Too imprecise for the triangle. Tim Duncan is a free-agent-in-waiting. Gary Payton is too old. Getting equal value would be difficult, but perhaps it's time to trade Kobe Bryant. How about a two-for-one? Steven Nash and Michael Finley for Bryant?"

Tracy McGrady isn't nearly as good as Bryant? Two things on that. First, that is absolutely absurd. McGrady is at least as good, if not better. McGrady leads in PER this season and not by a small margin (about 5.00). McGrady shoots 2% better from the field and 7% better from the arc. He rebounds less (about 1 per game), but scores slightly more, blocks more shots and turns the ball over half as much as Kobe does. McGrady has been better in PER each of the last 2 seasons and the gap between the two has been growing.

The second thing about that paragraph is, does Charley Rosen like any player? I agree that Allen Iverson, Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker would not be good fits, but not for the reasons given by Rosen. By belittling the players like he does, Rosen just comes off as a bitter old man (which is what he may just be).

Monday, December 23, 2002
SOS on capsizing Lakers

Ahhh yes, another post about something Charley Rosen wrote. I must preface this with two things: 1) the post won't be all about what Rosen wrote and 2) this is by request from a reader named Jhaldir (thanks for the email again) who wanted my take on what is wrong with the Lakers. So now that I have said that, on with the post.

First we will start with some quotes.

"Kobe's me-first attitude in training camp (this was also the case in preseason games) destroyed the value of too many intrasquad scrimmages. Instead of concentrating on reorienting themselves to the triangle's basic geometries, the players' attention was focused on man-to-man competition, bickering over real and imagined fouls, looking to short-cut their way to victory, and ignoring the increasingly caustic scolding of the coaches."

"That's why, in the Minnesota game, Bryant took it upon himself to dramatically expose his teammates' shooting deficiencies -- which he did by attempting only four shots (and one of them a dunk) during the first half. His modus operandi was to abort the triangle offense by dribble-penetrating the lane, thereby causing the Timberwolves' defense to collapse around him, and then kicking out passes to the likes of Rick Fox, Robert Horry and Derek Fisher, who were wide open on the perimeter."

The first quote is form Rosen's article from about 6 weeks ago where he blasted Kobe for being selfish and had quotes from Tex Winters, among others, calling Kobe selfish. Winters later said he never said any of it. The second quote is from Rosen's article from today. The contradiction is obvious. Before Kobe's selfishness was destroying the Lakers and now it is his unselfishness. I don't know what Kobe Bryant did to Charley Rosen, but he sure did piss him off. This article is just another example of Rosen showing he doesn't have a clue.

The truth is that Kobe Bryant is not the problem with that team and neither is Shaquille O'Neal at less than 100%. They are 4th and 2nd in PER in the entire league so far this season. Kobe Bryant is arguably the 4th best player in the league thus far (PER dos not cover defense, so there is some wiggle room in terms of rankings using it). The problem with the Lakers began a few seasons ago when Jerry West left.

As John Hollinger has said, Kupchak has done nothing but collect paychecks since he got the GM job. He has made no good acquisitions since he got the job (Lindsay Hunter or Mark Madsen anyone?) and that is the reason the Lakers have been struggling thus far. After Shaq and Kobe there is practically nothing. There is not another player on that roster that is even above average for an NBA player and this is the thing that is killing the Lakers. Even if Shaq and Kobe go for thirty each every night, you still need another thirty points to even be competitive and the rest of the team struggles to do that often times. But the reality is you need more like 40-50 points a night out of the rest and they simply aren't good enough to get it done.

So Charley can go on blaming Kobe all he wants, but the fact is that the rest of the lineup lacks talent and that is the fault of Mitch Kupchak. It is his job to assemble the talent and judging by the talent that is there, he is failing badly.

Happy Story for Christmas

A young victim of the DC Sniper, Iran Brown, is a huge Tracy Mcgrady fan. McGrady heard this and sent him signed jerseys and shoes, along with a taped message for him in the hospital. He went even further though. The young boy was flown to Orlando by the team and some of its sponsors. He gets to attend two games, a practice where he gets to shoot with the players, and a trip to Disneyland. In a time when all the news stories are about the bad stuff, it's nice to hear about the good stuff.

Sunday, December 22, 2002
So Troy Murphy is Rollo Tomasi

All of you fans of LA Confidential will recognize Rollo Tamasi as the name Edmund Exley gives his father's killer, which comes to generically mean "the guy who gets away with it." I'm sure that all of you have heard about the fracas that was the end of the Warriors-Blazers game Friday night. After hearing what happened my guess was that Bonzi Wells would probably get 2 games, Chris Mills would get 3 and possibly more for doing his best Rick Fox rendition and blocking the Blazers bus with his car, Rasheed Wallace would get 1 for going into the stands and being Rasheed Wallace and Troy Murphy would get one because he threw punches. I got Wells and Mills right, but Sheed got a $15K and Murphy as the post title suggests, got nothing.

Now I was under the impression that throwing punches was an automatic suspension, but the rules apparently don't specify it. This page on says,

"Officials have been instructed to eject a player who throws a punch, whether or not it connects, or an elbow which makes contact above shoulder level. If elbow contact is shoulder level or below, it shall be left to the discretion of the official as to whether the player is ejected. Even if a punch or an elbow goes undetected by the officials during the game, but is detected during a review of a videotape, that player will be penalized."

But not if your name is Troy Murphy. You couldn't miss him thowing punches. Maybe the NBA defines punch differently than I do, but it says above that the player WILL be penalized. While it doens't specify the penalty, it implies that there will actually be one. Maybe someone can set me straight, but i was under the impression that the league treated throwing punches like it did leaving the bench during an altercation - which is to say that it earns you an automatic suspension. So how did Troy Murphy get off with nothing?

The other thing about this is the whole throwing things from the stands aspect. Rule of thumb: If you are at a sporting event, son't throw things at guys that could probably bench press you with one arm using only three fingers to hold the bar. It's just not a good idea. Especially don't do it at events that are televised or where everyone knows everyone else there. You will get caught. It's just stupid and there is no need for it. So to all the fools in Utah and Oakland who have felt the need to lob objects from the stands in recent weeks, don't do it. All you do is embarass yourself, your team and your city.

Thursday, December 19, 2002
Posey and Thomas key components of deal

There are two aspects of this deal I want to talk about. The first is purely selfish. I had James Posey on my fantasy basketball team. My team wasn't that great to begin with and now Posey has practically no value. Does anyone really think Posey is gonna be a 15 ppg scorer with Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Yao Ming there? Me neither. Hell Cuttino Mobley doesn't even know how to pass. And it isn't like Posey was a monster in any other category. He was actually more like a weight in FG%. Ugghhh. This trade kicked me while I was on one knee . . . I wasn't quite down, but I wasn't in good shape either.

Second, how long before we hear Mark Bryant and/or Art Long are seriously injured? It is bad karma to get traded from the Sixers. Theo Ratliff, George Lynch, Dikembe Mutumbo . . . all ended up with serious injuries after being traded (Ratliff had the hip injury after the wrist injury). The Sixers are my team and all, but someone should be looking into this.

Monday, December 16, 2002
NBA's new reality TV show: Live Ping-Pong balls

This article is actually a week old, but I just found it today. You can thank the finals for that. Marc Stein says the league is considering going with the live televised ping pong ball pulling. This is good and bad. Good because it would get rid of a lot of the conspiracy theory garbage that gets spewed each year about the lottery. However, it wouldbe bad because it would remove any suspense from the event. The way it would work is that 4 digit combos would get pulled. There would be 1000 possible and they would all be assigned to the lottery teams in teh correct proportions. The loss of suspense comes from the fact that they pull them 1,2,3 and the rest of the lottery falls in behind those by order of record. So instead of going down from 13 to 1. The first pick would get decided first. I am fine with it either way. Either they keep the suspense or they get rid of most of the conspiracy theories. Win-win situation in my book.

Rebuilding Bulls talk playoffs after beating Celtics

They were doing it with straight faces too. I admit that they would be a playoff team if the playoffs started today. The only problem is that IT IS MID-DECEMBER!!!!! They are about 1/3 of the way through the season and the are playing .333 basketball (8-16 record). Maybe you guys want to try and get to say .450 or so, before you start getting all excited about the playoffs. Oh and maybe wait til at least February.

Sunday, December 15, 2002
Another Ugly Incident

"Chris Webber made four free throws in the final 8.5 seconds as the Kings beat the Utah Jazz 98-96 Saturday night after a disputed foul call prompted angry Jazz fans to throw debris at the officials as they left the court . . . The players were already off the court as the debris, which included full plastic water bottles and mini basketballs, rained down. Referee Tony Brothers was hit on the forearm by a water bottle but was OK."

You know how you could tell they were in Utah? Nothing beer related was thrown onto the court.

Friday, December 13, 2002
Belated Happy Birthday

Going out to this blog. On December 8th, 2001, this blog actually started to function. Been a good year. I'd like to thank the readers for the support (still wish you would comment and email more) and especially the people who helped make this thing work on the technical side, particularly Ben Matasar and Ryan Wilkins.

In honor of the birthday, I've put together a list of what I think are the 5 best posts. Read them again for the first time and enjoy.
5) Stephon Marbury Extreme DUI and Apology
4) What Box Scores Should Look Like
3) Iverson Charges Dismissed/Ban Batterrers from Sports Response
2) Tyrone Hill traded for Mateen Cleaves
1) The Draft Post

Charley Rosen Draws My Ire . . . Again

Charley Rosen has yet again shown that he doesn't have a clue. I'm not a fan of Kobe Bryant, but Rosen did a bit of a hatchet job on him. Again, Rosen shows that he just doesn't get it. In his "scouting report" on Lebron James (in quotes because I question Rosen's abilities as a scout), Rosen essentially said James was arrogant, selfish, unintelligent, lazy, a poor shooter and couldn't play defense to save his life.

I could go into how the kid is a mere 17 and probably never really been coached in his life, but that isn't what bothers me most. WHat bothers me most is that Charley has seen exactly ONE of James' games. In many cases, Rosen uses one instance from game to generalize overall faults in Lebron's game. What scout does this? None. Most real scouts (read: not former CBA coaches who come across as bitter and uninformed) see several games of players they are truly interested in.

Now part of this is the fault of the editors at who thought giving this job to Charley Rosen was a good idea. However, Charley makes no reference to the fact that he has seen exactly one game (the one he is "scouting"). Many of the things he references are things he has heard second hand and probably gotten from the same articles you and I read. Yet again, Rosen shows his ineptness as a writer by reporting a biased, self-serving and generally uninformed article while presenting like it is fact. This is teh real problem with Rosen. He thinks he knows what he is talking about, but the reality would seem to be that he only knows as much as the average fan.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Magic Release Horace Grant

My guess is that this is the end of the road for Grant. The guy had a nice career. At his peak he was a 14/10 a night guy, but he was a great role player. You never heard him complain about his shots or anything like that. He simply went out and did what his team needed him to do. Not a Hall of Famer, but a very solid player. He hasn't been able to recover from off season knee surgery and he was limited physically in recent years as it was. Good luck to Horace Grant in the afterlife (the NBA afterlife that is).

Monday, December 09, 2002
Mavericks @ Warriors

I attended this game Saturday night. It was the first NBA game I had attended in person in a couple years. Now I know you are all asking, "What kind of fan are you?" My response is, "A broke one."

So anyway back to the game. I noticed that things are a lot different when you are actually at the game instead of watching it on television. For one, I wasn't nearly as aware of statistics. For instance when the game ended and the announcer ran down the scoring for each player, I had no idea that Dirk Nowitzki had dropped 35. I figure this is due to the constant statistical overlays and announcer coments about them during a telvised game. You don't have those at the arena.

A second one was that I watched the game a lot differently. On TV, most of the time I am simply following the ball. However, at the game I watched the off the ball stuff a lot more. I figure this is because my view isn't filtered through the camera. I can watch whatever aspect of the game I want, which was an aspect about it I really enjoyed.

The best part was when Earl Boykins had to jump against Adrian Griffin. That got the crowd cheering the loudest they would all night. Another thing I noticed, was that you can appreciate the relative differences in size of the players. There was a point in the game where Boykins was standing next to Shawn Bradley. Bradley had his hand on Boykins shoulder, yet to do it his arm had to be extended all the way. It is hard to really appreciate how tall Bradley is til you see something like that. The play of the game though was when Earl Boykins crossed Steve Nash over so bad that Nash's knees buckled on him. It was pretty impressive.

So basically, if you are a fan of the NBA and haven't been to a game in person you should go (or at least try to go). Even if you get tickets at the top of the arena, the view will still be good. My seats at the Coliseum Arena last night were actually above the jumbotron over the court (I actually had to look down a slight bit to see it), but I could see just fine. The tickets at the top of the arena will be cheap too. Warriors tickets for the top section were only $10. Just try to round up some friends (I went with three others) and get some tickets, it will probably end up being a fun night.

Friday, December 06, 2002
Rose still eager to play in Olympics

Well, he's gonna be eager for quite a while because he shouldn't be anywhere near the national team. Does anyone believe Rose is even a top 20 NBA player? I certainly don't. He would be low on my wishlist if I was on the selection committee. The best part of this was the following quote from Rose:

"No member of the Fab Five has ever played on the Olympic team."

It makes it sound like there is a conspiracy to keep Fab Five members of fthe Olympic team. Part of the problem is that 2 of them weren't all that fab, seeing as how they couldn't make the NBA. That leaves Rose, who has been discussed, Juwan Howard (not even close to being named to the Olympic team) and Chris Webber, the only one of them who is talented enough to be on the team - assuming it is made of the best players and not this "let's pick the best guys who haven't gone yet" crap.

Ankle forces McGrady to sit

People in Orlando are now wondering whether ankle injuries are actually contagious.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002
Group will boycott law enforcement night in protest

Now quite frankly, I don't care about the boycott one way or the other. They can do what they want. However, the real reason I posted this was because the guy who was quoted in the article from the police side, Robert Eddis - president of the Fraternal Order of Police, is actually someone I know. I was born in Philadelphia and lived there til I was ten. Robert Eddis' son was my best friend until I moved to California and lived right down the street from me. I just thought it was kinda cool that someone I knew was quoted in an article on

Wagner's 29 propel Cavs to first win in 16 games

It only really counts as half a win since they beat the Bulls, who are just as bad as they are. How impressive has Dajuan Wagner been? He scored a "career-high" 29 points tonight (career high is in quotes because his career is exactly 6 games old now). The FG% leaves much to be desired, but that's gonna happen when you miss part of training campl and the beginning of the season with a bladder infection that required hospitalization. However, despite all that he is averaging 20 poimts a game and 4.8 assists. Not bad for a 19 year old rookie who no one really thought was a point guard. I am probably a bit over enthusiastic coonsidering the sample is only 5 games, but you gotta like what he's done so far.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002
Week (and a half) In Review

Since I haven't posted in a while, I'll try and cover the stuff that I missed. So without further ado, it's the week in review.

Sixers' Brown selected to coach 2004 Olympic team
Congratulations to Larry I guess. Shaq said he would be hurt and unable to play in 04 if Phil Jackson wasn't named coach, but we'll see. The real question is, does anyone care? With Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett already saying they would play, the reality is that the team doesn't really need Shaq.

Jordan leaves no doubt: He's done after season
I want to believe it, but MJ is starting to look like he missed his calling as a boxer with the rate that he retires and unretires at. I'll believe it when I see it, and even when I see it I'll still be skeptical that there isn't a comeback on the horizon.

Erick Barkley fails drug test, booted by Greek league
What do Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, Bill Walton and Erick Barkley all have in common? Well, of course they all played for the Blazers at some point. The answer we were looking for is that they were all Blazers of a different sort (I have no confirmation for Walton, but the guy is a huge Grateful Dead fan. You do the math.). Maybe Barkley was just lightin one up in honor of his former teammates who got cited 5 days earlier? Either way, Barkley better watch his step or else even the NBDL is gonna be looking pretty good for him.

The Mavs Finally Lost . . .
To the Pacers on Thansgiving. It was bound to happen. At least they got their streak snapped by a team that is playing just as good as they are at this point. The Pacers are a good team anyway, but they are hot as well. Also, when did Ron Artest learn to shoot? Last year he shoots roughly 42%. This year he is at about 49%. The craziest part about it is the three point shooting though. Last year Artest was Jeckyll and Hyde from behind the arc shooting .396 before he got traded, but a dismal .215 after. This year he is at .342. Would the real Ron Artest please stand up? The three point shooting may keep up, but there is no way in hell he finishes the year at 49% from the field.

Harpring, Piatkowski take shot at elite honor
The elite honor in question is the so called 170 club. to gain entry you must shoot at least 50% from the field, 40% from behind the arc, and 80% from the line. So if you look at the list of who has done it already you see great shooters like Drazen Petrovic, Jeff Hornacek, Steve Kerr, Chris Mullin . . . Brent Barry may raise an eyebrow, but he is way under-rated in my opinion. Does anyone see Harpring or Piatkowski fitting in with those guys? Me niether. Harpring won't make it. I don't think he can keep up the three point shooting. The guy was a career 31% coming into this year and all of a sudden he is shooting 50%? I feel a little regression to the mean coming on. As for Piatkowski, he shouldn't be in there just because he isn't a good player and shouldn't even be starting on his own team. The reality is, I'm just hatin on him for having the naked pictures of Alvin Gentry and using them to keep himself in, and Quentin Richardson out of, the starting lineup.

Wagner Turning Heads (requires sunscription)
Dejuan Wagner has come off IL and contributed immediately. The best part was the quote from John Lucas:
"All I say is, today is the first time since I've been in Cleveland that I had to hold the bus up for somebody doing interviews," Lucas said. "I like that. I like the idea that I went to the N.B.A. Store and Cleveland Wagner jerseys were in the store. That's what it's going to take for us to get out of this significant hole."
I got news for you John, you need more than Dejuan Wagner jerseys in the NBA store. It's gonna take a new GM and about 10 new players for you guys to get out of this hole.

The Revolution is Beginning and it Won't Be Televised . . .
Well at least not the beginning. Ric Bucher cited PSA when talking about Yao Ming. How long before things like PER start working their way into mainstream media?

Don't (Lo)go West, young man
Eric Neel's article is pretty good, but you gotta see the example given for the Allen Iverson logo.

Get Your Kicks has some pictures of shoes over the years. The pictures of the Jordan's were pretty cool, but the must see is the Signature Shoes. Included are the shoes Paul Pierce and Chris Webber wore at All-Star Weekend last year, which were truly hideous (down near the bottom of the post).

I'm Back

Sorry for the disappearing act. Thanksgiving plus the end of the semester makes for little free time. Things may get spotty in two weeks when I have 4 finals in a 3 day span, but i will do my best to keep posting regularly until then.