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, February 28, 2003
Lue separates shoulder

In last night's Wizards-Rockets game, Tyronn Lue separated his shoulder. The only reason I bring this up is because while he was down, the PA system started blaring Lil' Bow Wow for the downed LBW impersonator. Not sure if it was on purpose or not, but it was amusing none the less.

East lowdown: Motown magic

Charley Rosen did an evaluation of the Eastern Conference teams and their chances of success down the road. I didn't read it because I was in a good mood and wanted to stay that way, but Lang Whitaker did. Rosen apparently made a fool of himself . . . again. I'll let Lang explain:

"I can't tell you how many emails I got last night about the Wizard of Wrong, ESPN's very own Charley Rosen, who attempted to break down the Eastern Conference yesterday. Instead, he made more errors than Rey Ordonez.

At least he keeps it real. To begin the column he says: "As the regular season rushes toward the playoffs (more than 1,600 of 2,358 scheduled games have already been played)..." Let's stop right there, not even halfway into his first sentence! As someone involved with the NBA's telecasts emailed me: "Well, according to his math...If 29 teams played 82 games: 29 X 82 = 2,378 total (not 2,358)...However, there are only 1,189 games played in an NBA season (29 teams X 82 games divided by 2). Good ole Charley forgot to divide his games by 2." Well, that kind of thing happens when you age, I've heard. He also says that Rodney Rogers is the Nets' only wide body -- Mr. Rosen, please meet Aaron Williams, who could bench press Rogers with one hand. He says that Van Horn's shot release is too low, and he wonders "Why trade [Mike] Miller for the soft inside game (and even softer brain) of rookie Drew Gooden?" I don't know how often Charley's spoken with Drew this season, but I talk to him at least once every two weeks. And yeah, Drew's a little different than most NBA players -- if anything, he's more open and honest -- but he's not retarded: he's about to graduate from Kansas, for goodness sakes. And I'll give Drew this: When it's time for Drew to do his diary for each issue of SLAM, he calls me (usually without me having to call him and remind me), and if it's on the weekend he calls me at home or on my cell phone -- meaning he's able to keep up with all my phone numbers -- and he's obviously put some thought into each diary, talking me through a list of things he wants to address each month. Heck, even if his brain is soft, since getting traded to Orlando the Magic are 3-0, including wins at Jersey and against Dallas, and in those three games Drew's averaging 19 and 9. I'll take that any day.

Finally, Charley holds that "the best [LeBron] James can ever be is an average NBA player." Uh, Charley, LeBron James was an average NBA player during his junior year in high school. Then again, maybe thousands of scouts, coaches and NBA guys who have played with Bron are wrong, and Charley is right. Wouldn't that be great? I've said it once and I'll say it again: Charley Rosen is totally uncoachable. He will never, ever, coach in the CBA again."

You know what I want? I want a Charley Rosen chat on Can you imagine it? Every other question would be, "Charley are you really as dumb as you seem on paper?" That would be followed by, "Charley, do you just make all this stuff up or does someone help you make it up?" It would be fun for the whole family. How does that incompetent fool still have a job?

In other notes, a reader of The Links came up with a great nickname for Ron Artest: The Straightjacket. That's easily in my top ten nicknames of all time.

Where's the money? Former players want to know

Bad things coming of the retro jersey craze. It seems that National Basketball Association Retired Players Association (NBARPA) has been keeping the money from the licensing of the names on the jersey's. While the deal that most of the players signed apparently technically says the NBARPA can, it still seems pretty shady. The document in question says that the fes get paid to the NBARPA, but not how they get distributed. This is where the problem is. In the article, people at the NBARPA say that it isn't that much money for most, but that isn't the point. It is a similar argument as college players not getting paid. People make money off of them, yet they don't see a penny of it. It's just kinda shady. Not as shady as the deal the pre-pension players got, but close.

Monday, February 24, 2003
Lakers move into seventh place in Western Conference

In other news, Kobe Bryant is good and Rashard Lewis is still waiting for the 50 spot Kobe promised him.

Saturday, February 22, 2003
Arenas avoids shooting until fourth, when he takes over

"Because Antawn Jamison criticized his passing earlier in the week -- and just because he's a bit odd -- Arenas decided to avoid shooting in the first 3 1/2 quarters of the Golden State Warriors' 111-107 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night."

But wait, it gets better.

"It was just something I came up with myself,'' Arenas said. "You've got to have a lot of (guts) to pull something off like that -- not score for 3 1/2 quarters and then try to take over the game."

Nothing screams team-player like a stunt like this. Not that it will afect Gilbert's offseason contract hunt. Kiki Vanderweghe wants him bad apparently. This is amusing, but I can't say that I approve.

Thursday, February 20, 2003
Sonics and Bucks go (are going?) crazy at deadline

In another not so stunning example of why I don't pretend to be an expert, I predicted that there probably would be no blockbusters and the biggest name to probably move would be Derrick Coleman. The deadline has come and gone and I was wrong in so many ways. First off, there has been no word yet of DC getting dealt. Second, the Sonics and Bucks made a HUGE trade in which Gary Payton and Desmond Mason were traded for Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie and Ronald Murray. But the Sonics weren't done. They decided that they were fine with Kevin Ollie being the best point guard on their roster and dealt Kenny Anderson to New Orleans for Elden Campbell. Not to be outdone, the Bucks may not be done either. There is a rumor that the Bucks and Knicks were working on a deal involving Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell and that one of the teams requested a deadline extension. There was also a minor deal between the Celtics and Nuggets and yesterday's deal between Memphis and Orlando. Now that the recap is out of the way, on to my takes on the deals.

First, we have the Sonics day. The deals they made look pretty good when you take them separately. Everyone knows of Payton and Allen's skills and their respective contract situations. Desmond Mason is sort of a homeless man's Michael Redd. He can give scoring, can jump out of the gym, and plays pretty good defense. His shooting needs work though. Kevin Ollie is the third point on most teams and I've never heard of Ronald Murray, who doesn't even have his own player page over at The Kenny Anderson trade looks fine too by itself. Two aging veterans nearing the end of their careers probably - and slumping while they do it - get dealt for each other. They both look fine until you realize that it leaves Brent Barry as the point in Seattle.

Now Barry at the point is an interesting proposition. Most people, myself included, probably cringe when they initially here that. However, it may not be as bad as it looks. Barry's assist ratio (which is basically assists per posession used - email me if you want a more detailed explanation or pick up a copy of Pro Basketball Prospectus) was first among shooting guards last year amd second the year before only to his brother Jon. Interestingly, Brent's assist rayio was higher the year his brother beat him out. Is Brent Barry a long term solution at the point? Not a chance. Can he be a good fill in for the rest of the year and possibly fill in for inuries or play it part time when needed in the future? I think so, but we'll find out for sure in the next few weeks.

As for Milwaukee, they are starting over as best they can it appears. The Payton-Allen deal can't really be evaluated for them until this offseason when we see what they do with Payton. Now, I'm gonna preface the rest of this by saying that I'm assuming the Cassell deal will get done and that he is gone. If the Bucks let Payton walk and don't use the cap space from that wisely, they will ocme out big losers in this. They would be left with Spree, Redd and whoever they sign. Unless they make one hell of a signing (namely a point guard), it could be dark times for Milwaukee for a while. I basically see two possible reasons as to why this trade got done:

1) They realize the team they had wasn't getting it done when they needed to and hadn't for many years and that it was time to start over.

2) Senator Kohl wants to sell the team and by getting rid of contracts (Ray Allen for example), it makes the team much more attractive to potential buyers.

Either way, this summer is gonna be important for the future of the Bucks.

NOTE: I'm reserving judgement on any potential Knicks-Bucks deal til all the details are out since other players would have to be involved for CBA reasons.

And there there was the Magic and Grizz. This looks like a decent trade. Both teams get what they want. Drew Gooden gets to play the four after his attempt at the three seemed to fail (after only 2/3 of a season . . . ) on a team desperate for some low post presence. The Magic hope Gordon Giricek can help fill the role of outside shooter left by Mike Miller. The Grizz get a guy who is a good shooter who is still pretty young and Ryan Humphrey, who I thought was a mistake at the position he was drafted at anyway. There was also a draft pick involved going from Memphis to Orlando, but it was actually Sacramento's pick so it should end up in the late 20s.

Another interesting note pointed out in The Links, was that there could be a potential TMac-II curse. Remember the commercial? Two out of the four guys are now gone (Horace Grant and Miller). Tracy McGrady probably has no worries, but the Doc Rivers part was played by Magic assistant Paul Pressey who is probably cowering in a corner somwhere hoping management can't find him so they can't fire him. Also check the links for some Charley Rosen bashing. It's good stuff.

Deadline Day!

One mid-sized deal done (Mike Miller for Drew Gooden and Gordon Giricek) and Derrick Coleman still to go. I'll try to have a post tonight recapping the bigger (will there be any BIG trades?) deals that have been reported after the 12:00PM (that's PST, my timezone) deadline and there will probably be some posts as the news of other deals trickles in late Thursday night and Friday morning. Happy Deadline Day!

UPDATE: I was about to post on the Seattle-Milwaukee Blockbuster, but Blogger just ate my post. I'll try and redo it real quick and hope it comes out as good.

Monday, February 17, 2003
THE LINKS by Lang Whitaker

I've been remiss in not giving Lang Whitaker his props for his work on The Links. Consistently funny and informative, it is a daily read. If you want a great example of what The Links is about, read the All-Star links (scroll down on the head link til you see it). Good stuff.

NBA rumours run gamut from serious to silly

The article talks about 5 guys who are likely to move. I think only one of them, Derrick Coleman, has any shot of going anywhere, due to his expiring contract. I don't think there are going to be a lot of moves this deadline and that Friday is gonna be a big disappointment. Welcome to the luxury tax era.

Also, the article has some tidbits about random things around the league. The one on Karl Malone is craziness. I offer you this quote: "Oh, yeah, and Malone was having trouble breathing the night he broke the nose so he got up about 5:30 in the morning, set the bone back in place and went back to sleep." My nose was hurting just reading that.

Sunday, February 16, 2003
Vince did the wrong thing by giving in

Sorry for the absenteeism of late. School and my personal life converged to keep me from the blog. So fresh off of being called jingoistic (I can't lie, I had to look it up too) for a take that wasn't even jingoistic according to the definition I found, I bring you an example of why Vince Carter is the most abused man in the NBA.

Does everyone remember all the heat he took before the All-Star game for saying he was going to start because that is what the fans said they wanted? Well, in case you forgot he took a lot. Everyone gets on him for not starting, then he does it and he still ends up taking crap from people (like David Aldridge for example). Personally, I thought the whole Jordan starting thing should have been a non-issue, but I bring it up only to show that there are few people in the league who take as much unwarranted bashing from people as Carter. The only one I can even think of off the top of my head is Kevin Garnett. Call Vince fragile, call him a sieve on defense, but when it comes to things like the lead link, it just goes to show that he can't win.

Sunday, February 09, 2003
Steve speaks out: Mavericks' star voices opposition to war in Iraq

"I believe that us going to war would be a mistake," he [Steve Nash] said. "Being a humanitarian, I think that war is wrong in 99.9 percent of all cases. I think it has much more to do with oil or some sort of distraction, because I don't feel as though we should be worrying about Iraq."

Can someone tell me why I care what Steve Nash has to say about this? The moppy-haired wonder isn't even American. He's Canadian! Did the US annex Canada from the UK when I wasn't looking?

I Almost Forgot . . .
The other big news on Saturday (besides the All-Star Saturday events) was that the NBA is reportedly going to make the first round of the playoffs best of seven. Apparently the NBPA and the owners have agreed on it already. In return, the training camp time for veterans will be shortened and the players share of playoff revenue increased. The league also decided to re-interpret the rule regarding international players' draft eligibility so that now they only have to be 18 by the deadline to declare for the draft (45 days before the draft). This means Darko Milic will be eligible for this year's draft and will probably go right after Lebron James.

Saturday, February 08, 2003
Second Annual All Star Festivities Post

I sucked it up again for all of you and not only watched the Saturday festivities, but also the "celebrity" game on Friday. Here is the condensed version.

The Biggest Highlight of All of the Stuff:
Saturday, when Charles Barkley had lost his voice and sounded like Dikembe Mutumbo for the whole night. Words can't do justice to how funny this was. Just imagine your favorite Charles Barkley quote. Now imagine him saying it with the voice of Dikembe Mutumbo. It was three times as funny as that.

Friday Night Celebrity Game
Keon Clark's Hot Nothing on Him:
Manute Bol has the skinniest legs I've ever seen. To steal a line from "So I Married an Axe Murderer," his body is like an orange on two toothpicks.

I Love the Show, But How Did You Get an Invite?:
Roger Lodge, host of the show Blind Date (which I love), was one of the "celebrity" players. Apparently he played college ball at some tiny little DIII school.

Must Have Forgotten to Fill Out the Change of Address Form:
Jamal Mashburn, involved as an assistant coach, was introduced by the PA announcer as being from the Charlotte Hornets. Oops.

Why Do They Let Him On TV?:
Magic Johnson did the color commentary for the game. It was painful. Read this in case you don't quite understand how I feel about Magic's public speaking abilities.

You Knew It Would Happen:
In one hour, the TNT crew found four ways to work the footage of Justin Timberlake hitting the jumper over Kenny Smith in last year's 3 on 3. They even managed to work it in twice before the game even began and there was an interview of Timberlake by Craig Sager (who retired the Miami Vice gear from last year) about it. The funnies part that I missed last year was that after the shot, Timberlake was talking trash to Kenny.

Another Fun Fact about the Smith-Timberlake Thing:
Between 4:15 and 5:00PM PST today, I got 18 hits from search engines in which the search words were some form of "Justin Timberlake Kenny Smith." I'll have to thank them for the boost in readership. 18 is more than I get in an entire Saturday normally.

Misc. Stuff:
Game ended 46-43 with Kenny and the Jets beating Sir Charles Court Jesters after Manute Bol blocked Mark McGrath's (of Sugar Ray) three from the top of the key. Overall this was BAD basketball. Some surprises included how good Tim McGraw was and also how many shots the little kid from Jerry Maguire took. Also amusing was how Charles Barkley ignored the game he was supposed to be coaching for about 5 minutes when Faith Hill came and sat on the bench with him.

The Rookie Challenge
Best Line of the Day:
"That's a license to get eight fouls!"
- Danny Ainge on the rule that no one can foul out of the game

Most Annoying Announcer Comments:
This one also goes to Danny Ainge for constantly complaining in the first half about the lack of defense. No one wants to see defense in these games Danny! Get a grip.

Reason(s) for the Warriors Improvement This Season:
One is Eric Musselman obviously, but two others were in this game. Jason Richardson scored 31 and Gilbert Arenas had 28 (23 in second half).

Second Best Move of the Game:
Jamal Tinsley totally spinning Marko Jaric around. Tinsley had several spectacular ball handling moves, but this was the best of them. Jaric had no clue where the ball was.

Best Move of the Game:
Jason Richardson, with time running down, dribbles a few times then bounces the ball of Carlos Boozer's forehead, catches it and drains a three as time expires to tie the record for points scored in the rookie challenge. Boozer didn't appreciate it apprently, but I did.

Good, Fundamental Basketball It Was Not:
There were 55 turnovers. Did I mention the game was only 40 minutes and it was defense optional?

The Skills Challenge
Sass Jordan sings the Canadian National Anthem:
I still haven't figured out who Sass Jordan is. She wasn't a very good singer, that's for sure.

Speaking of Painful Singing . . . :
They brought Gloria Gaynor out to sing "I Will Survive." I like the song and all, but she was absolutely brutal. It was equivalent to watching Hakeem Olajuwon miss baseline fadeaway after baseline fadeaway the last two years. You just hate to see it.

Oh, There Was an Actual Contest You Say?:
The skills challenge was a snooze. This one should go the way of Two-Ball.

The 3 on 3 Hoop It Up
The One Highlight From This Event:
At the ripe old age of 43, Dominique Wilkins caught an Alley-Oop and slammed it home over Ashton Kutcher. It was a bad night for Kelso, who also had Frankie Muniz (Malcom, of Malcom in the Middle) who dropped a three on Kutcher seconds after they had entered the game.

The Three Point Shootout
First Off, the Results:
Here they are in order of finish from first to sixth - Peja, Person, Barry, Garrity, Wesley, Walker. This proved that regular season percentages mean nothing in this contest. The 5th lowest percentage of the group ended up winning and the highest percentage finished 5th. Go figure.

Antoine Walker scored 7 of a possible 30 in his early exit.

Best Dancing Since Mark Madsen:
Brent Barry's little jig after his first round 19 was pretty funny. He wasn't nearly as bad as Madsen though. And he didn't yell stuff in Spanish with a complete lack of any Spanish accent.

Oddest Circumstances To Win Under:
The final goes to a shootoff between Stojakovic and Person. Stojakovic goes first, but 24 seconds into his round the buzzer sounds. That would have been fine except for the fact that it was supposed to be a 60 second round. Peja finishes, but misses almost every shot after the buzzer distraction. The judges decide he gets to do his over, but that Person will go now and then Peja will redo his. Peja was lights out in his redo, hitting 15 of his first 18 shots en route to a 22.

And the Parade of Musical "Talent" Continues:
Meatloaf performed between the 3 point contest and the dunk contest. I opted to save myself and watched the Cal-Oregon game for 3 minutes.

The Slam Dunk Contest
The Results:
From first to last - Jason Richardson, Desmond Mason, Amare Stoudemire, and Richard Jefferson.

There's Always Next Year . . . Maybe:
Richard Jefferson was absolutely underwhelming. A pair of 37s? That hurts. His miss of the Vince Carter hang from the elbow dunk was kind of embarassing since he only ended up hanging by his wrist. Also in this category is Amare Stoudemire. He has one good dunk (went between his legs), but otherwise didn't seem suited for a contest like this. He just wasn't enough of a "high flier."

The Best In Years:
This was the best dunk contest they have had in years. The Vince Carter win was nice, but there was no competition in that one really. This year, the two finalists came to play. Desmond Mason led off with a spectacular between the legs dunk in which he finished with his "bad" hand (left). The guy's dunks are just so smooth. However, Jason Richardson was not to be outdone. He closed the contest out with a spectacular dunk of his own. He started in the corner, lobbed the ball up, caught the bounce off the floor and then went between the legs the same way Mason did and slammed it home. It was a pretty sweet dunk.

Thursday, February 06, 2003
Quotes from an ESPN announcing pair

I have some tidbits from Bill Walton and Tom Tolbert for you. First we have Walton's.

"I thought Atlanta Hawks general manager Pete Babcock was trying to save his job. The questionable waiving of Mike Wilks after he established himself as the team's best point guard during his two 10-day contract stints further illustrates that Lon Kruger was not the only problem. Wouldn't it help AOL's balance sheet if they just sold the team and saved everybody a big headache?"

This amazes me cause Walton points out something that is very true and then says something that seems dumb. The observation about Mike Wilks as a sign of Pete Babcock's incompetence. On one hand you see Babcock has brought in Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Glenn Robinson. But then you see stuff like this as well. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Lon Kruger is a very good NBA coach. However, that mess is not all his fault either. As for AOL selling the Hawks, I know Walton has to realize two things. One is that AOL would sell that team in a second and is probably shopping it as we speak. The second is that it is not easy nor quick to sell a team. Since I know he knows these things, it puzzles me why he says that last line.

Now onto Tolbert. In his weekly chat, Tolbert got asked this question: "No offesne Tom, but I really don't remeber you as a player. Who among today's players were you most comparable? A worse version of Danny Ferry?"

After saying what other players he has heard himself compared to, he replied with the following: "I was like a poor man's Tracy McGrady. Really poor. Dirt poor. Chapter 11."

You gotta love that.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Fun Stat of the Day

In my Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball League, exactly four of my originally drafted thirteen players remain on my team. Here is the breakdown:

Original Draft Order     Current Status     Current Player at that position

Ray Allen traded Jason Terry
Baron Davis traded Stephen Jackson
Darrell Armstrong still have N/A
Sam Cassell still have N/A
Chauncey Billups traded Earl Boykins
Shane Battier dropped Matt Harpring
Brad Miller still have N/A
James Posey dropped Raef LaFrentz
Tim Thomas dropped Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Ron Mercer dropped Kurt Thomas
Hedo Turkoglu still have N/A
Shawn Bradley still have N/A
Derrick Coleman dropped None

Now I must also tell you that it was a list draft and that I have no idea why it took Armstrong at the end of the third round. It should also be noted that this is Hedo Turkoglu's second stint with the team, so he doesn't really count as an original member anymore. A third thing to note is that a lot of the guys on the right were actually acquired by trades involving the FA fodder I picked up to replace the original guy or guys picked up in other trades. Examples of these types of guys include Zydrunas Ilgauskas (FA pickup early in the season), Theo Ratliff (arrived and departed in trades) and Kenny Thomas (the guy who replaced James Posey). I think my roster turnover is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is good because I think my team is much better than it was before,but it is bad because it shows how bad my team was before. We'll see how it goes for the rest of the season. Maybe I can move those remaining original four and have complete roster turnover.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003
3 Point Shootout

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong, can you guess which one is not like the others, before we reach the end of this song? That is a song from my childhood (namely from Sesame Street) which I think applies to the shootout field. Below is a table with the competitors, their 3PT% and their overall rank in 3PT%.

Name           3Pt%    Rank

W. Person .481 1
D. Wesley .443 4
B. Barry .411 9
P. Garrity .400 17(T)
P. Stojoakovic .388 29
A. Walker .347 62

The one the song refers to is obviously Antoine Walker. He has the distinction of being the only one of those guys who if you rounded their percentages to the second decimal, still wouldn't be a 35% shooter from deep. It is also interesting to note how low Peja Stojakovic's percentage and rank are. I would complain about his presence, but he is the defending champion so he should get the automatic invite. Walker though, has no business being here. Another thing to notice is that only 2 of the top 6 ranking guys in percentage are in the contest. After looking at the top 6 I wouldn't advocate simply taking those guys. Bruce Bowen and Erick Strickland don't exactly get me excited about the contest. However, neither does three point specialist (and i mean that in the Ben Matasar way) Pat Garrity. I would guess availability and marketability play a role as well, although David Wesley and Wesley Person aren't big draws. Then again, no one cares about this but me anyways. That means it's time to end this rambling, ill-organized post before it really gets out of hand.

Sunday, February 02, 2003
Western Conference All-Stars

The better team when it comes right down to it. For the most part this team's players deserve to be in the sp Let's do this.

The Starters
Yao Ming - Definitely not the best center in the West, but Shaq missed a lot of games. He has hit the wall as of late, but there aren't really a lot of true centers in the West after Shaq, so Yao is alright by me.

Tim Duncan - There may not be a more fundamentally sound basketball player anywhere. Has the third highest PER in the league. He's so good he is almost boring. Definitely deserving of the starting nod here.

Kevin Garnett - Is there anyone in the league who takes more unwarranted abuse than KG? 4th overall in PER behind Duncan. The guy averages about 22/13/6 and shoots about 48%. Easily in my top 5 favorite non-Sixers. Another deserving choice.

Kobe Bryant - I'm not a fan of his per se, but I do respect what the guy can do. He is next on the PER list at 5th overall. Again, not a whole lot to say. Charley Rosen is probably rolling over in his grave. What? He's not dead?

Steve Francis - Should be an All-Star, but not a starter. Nash should be starting. Francis is a great player, but Nash (and Gary Payton) are more deserving of the starting nod. However, I think I would prefer to watch Francis in a defense optional scrimmage like the All-Star game. Francis can jump out of the gym and is one if the quickest guys in the league. Another of my favorite non-Sixers.

The Reserves
Shaquille O'Neal - Would be a starter had he scheduled his surgery a month or two earlier. The most dominant player in the league when healthy, and often times when he isn't healthy.

Chris Webber - Definitely deserving, but won't play now that he sprained his ankle. Replaced by Peja Stojakovic, but should have been replaced by Pau Gasol, but they feel the need to replace a King with a King and also to make sure the Kings are represented. Either way Webber deserved the spot. He is the Kings best player. I don't care what people say about Mike Bibby.

Dirk Nowitzki - The guy shoots the lights out and is actually playing a little D this year. Another deserving selection. Even the coaches couldn't have messed this one up.

Shawn Marion - While his PER is a bit low, he is a good defender and has the track record (as opposed to say . . . Matt Harpring). There are other guys that also could have gotten this spot without drawing any complaints from me, but Marion is a fine selection.

Steve Nash - 22.87 PER and his defense is much improved this year. Hard to argue with 18.7/6.8 per game. My only complaint is that Nash or the next guy isn't starting over Stevie Franchise.

Gary Payton - Not what he once was on defense, but still very, very good. Has the PER (22.74) and raw numbers (21.1/9.2) to match.

Stephon Marbury - Marbury's PER isn't as good as many of these other guy's, but a few things have conspired to get him on the team. One is good raw numbers (21.8/8.1). The second is his team's surprise success. The third and most important is injuries, namely to Bobby Jackson's hand and Mike Bibby's foot. If either of those guys had played more than half the season thus far, this spot would have been their's. I may take some heat for this, but in reality I would have preferred to see the "pasty gangsta" John Stockton get this spot. When you look at his base stats (scoring and assists in the case of a PG), they don't look like much (11.0/7.7). However the PER of 20.73 tells you that he is doing other stuff to get the job done. Mainly this involves his %s (.469/.800 - actually a down year FG wise for Stockton) and turnovers (a mere 2.3 a game for a guy who does a ton of ballhandling). Even with the diminished output this year (average PER for last three years is 23.08), he is still a very good player. He just doesn't have the numbers to get the broad recognition he got before (other than for the fact that he is a legend of course).

So there you have it. The West All-Stars and my attempt at breaking the record for most parentheses used in one paragraph. I realize the west post was a bit boring because most of the picks actually made sense, but I can't be held responsible for that. That is unless you think I'm wrong . . .

Eastern Conference All-Star Selections

I'll try not to pick on the fans vote too much. I understand the game is for the fans blah blah blah, but as a fan I want to see the best players so far. So without further ado . . .

The Starters
Ben Wallace - Ben Wallace at center is a bit of a stretch and as much as I like him, his presence on the team is a stretch. The guy is a defensive presence for sure, but his team has to play 4 on 5 on the offensive end because he is that invisible. The team would have been fine with just Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Brad Miller. Wallace isn't even in the top 50 overall of the PER rankings. That is a sign to me that he shouldn't be an All-Star. Either of the other two mentioned could be the starter. I would lean towards Miller (Z's FG% is brutal for a big guy), but I wouldn't complain too much if big Z was starting. In all seriousness though, condolences go out to Ben and his family after the passing of his mother Saturday.

Jermaine O'Neal - His 19.33 PEr is nice and his raw numbers look nice too at 20/10/2.3 (pts/rebs/blks) and 47.6/74.8 as his percentages. The guy is clearly the best 4 in the conference. No argument on his selection from me.

Vince Carter - I know it is the fans' game and all, but the guy has played 12 games. 12 people!!!! that's roughly one quarter of his team's games. I don't care if the guy walks on water, you shouldn't be an All-Star if you can only play a quarter of the games. His PER is 19.88, but it is only for 12 games. Definitely shouldn't be there in my opinion. This should have been Paul Pierce's spot.

Tracy McGrady - What is there to say really? The guy is a beast. Easily one of the top 5 players in the NBA. Leading the league in PER at 28.96, scoring 30 a game, good percentages, rebounds and assists are there as well. He is gonna be here every year for quite a while. The guy can just play.

Allen Iverson - I love Allen, but should he be starting? No. It is a down year for Iverson (which is still a great year for most of the NBA), but that 39.8% from the field is pretty brutal even for AI. Jason Kidd should be starting here. The guy has a phenomenal all around game and his shooting is up from previous years to a respectable level.

The Reserves
Zydrunas Ilgauskas - The FG% is brutal for a guy who takes most of his shots from in close, but the rest of the numbers are nice. The guy's main problem before (other than shooting) was his health. This year he has played almost all of his team's games and that is the biggest difference.

Brad Miller - I've talked about this guy's skills before. 13.9/8.5 pn 50% shooting in a league with the dearth of centers that the NBA has (particularly in the East) is pretty damn good. Plays more defense than Z and shoots better, but puts up less numbers in terms of points and rebounds. Of course Miller is fighting the East's starting 4 for those points and boards, which may have something to do with it. Definitely should be here, possibly even starting.

Jamal Mashburn - Probably deserves to be here. 20/6/5 is pretty good, but he doesn't crack the PER top 50. Then again, neither do most of the other Fs in the East.

Antoine Walker - Toine has no business being on this team this year. I like him, but his %s suck and a PER of 16 and change doesn't get it done. The proper owner of this spot is Cal alum (are you an alum if you only go one year?) Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

Jason Kidd - The highest PER in the East after Tracy McGrady should be starting.

Paul Pierce - The 2nd highest PER in the East . . . This should have been Sam Cassell since Pierce should be starting and VC shouldn't even be on the roster. So since Sam I Am doesn't have a spot, I will use PP's to talk about him. Cassell
is the best player on his team this year. All that talk about Ray Allen is nice (Ray can play for sure), but Cassell and his 22.51 PER, as well as his 20/6 each game were definitely worthy of an All-Star nod.

Michael Jordan - While it's a nice gesture that Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson want to give up there spots to Jordan, the guy doesn't deserve to be starting. While the whole Cal Ripken thing of voting the guy in in his last season is nice and all, Jordan deserves what he has. I personally think the best players for the half should be the ones starting and Jordan simply isn't one of those players (granted neither are AI and VC, but I digress).

The one thing that does bother me about this roster is that Sam Cassell

Saturday, February 01, 2003
Oops . . .

Sometimes when it is late at night and I'm bored, I like to look at the EotB archives. (What did you think I was gonna say?) So since my Friday night out ended just before midnight (this is what happens when you are still in school and your friends are not), this was one of those occasions. So as I read back through what I consider my finest EotB hour, the draft post, I found this jewel:

"9) Phoenix: Amare Stoudemire - The lone high school player in the first round. A backlash after last year it appears. That and everyone was looking for the next Dirk Nowitzki. He's kinda tall. That's about the extent of my knowledge here. Probably won't be contributing any time soon."

And that is a good example of why I'm not an expert.