And now, Part 5 of this year's NBA Worsties. We've gotten through March now. Only three long months and several more reader nominations to go...
Dwyane Wade calls out...Reggie Miller?!: With the Heat sucking and D-Wade clearly not playing up to his pre-injury standards, Reggie suggested during a TNT broadcast that Wade was playing at about 60 percent capacity. This illicited unexpected rage from Pookie, who said: "Tell Reggie to meet me at the gym in Miami and see what percentage I am. We'll go from there. I'm not 100 (%), but I'm not 60." Sure, Dwyane. Because (as I said at the time) going one-on-one against a 40-something retired player whose body looks like a bunch of wire hangers covered in Saran Wrap is going to prove that how exactly?
Jason Kidd opens mouth, inserts foot: After scoring a season-high 21 points against the Kings, Kidd tried to explain why he doesn't score 20 every night: "My brain is wired differently I guess. Scorer's have more of a tunnel vision. Maybe I should get blinders like horses wear and be more of an 'I' guy, in a good way." However, Basketbawful reader flohtingpoint was quick to dispell the myth of Kidd's selfless non-shooting: "Riiiightt...as it stands right now, Jason 'Jumpshot' Kidd has more career three-point attempts (3962) than Mad Max (3931), Glen Rice (3896), The Rifleman (3370) and Dan Majerle (3798). If anything Jason needs to shoot alot LESS. The only person who launched more ill-advised shots over his career than Jason was 'Toine Walker." Update! According to Basketball-Reference.com, Kidd finished the 2007-08 season with 4,025 career three-point attempts...only 239 behind Antoine Walker!
Dirk Nowitzki and Erick Dampier do the Dance of Dumb: If you want to know why I haven't finished the Worsties yet, it's because I spend at least 17 hours of every day rewatching this video.
Kobe hits an old lady in the face with a towel: Sure, it was an accident and everything...but isn't it funny how so many of these "accidents" happen in Kobe's approximate vicinity?
The Heat's worst weekend ever: The weekend got off to a rough start with a 35-point home loss to the Golden State Warriors. Then, on Saturday night, they lost not once but twice to the Atlanta Hawks in a matter of hours. And I'm not even exaggerating. First, they replayed the last 51.9 seconds of the infamous "dispute game" and lost 114-111 (and since they lost this game 117-111 the first time, that means they lost the same game on two differenct occasions). Then they went out and lost their regularly scheduled game to the Hawks 97-94. So that's three losses in two nights, including one game they got to lose for the second time. That could be considered a four-loss weekend, which has to be some kind of NBA record. Yay team.
Joakim Noah loses touch with reality: I'm going to go ahead and assume that Joakim Noah was suffering from a serious headwound after the Chicago Bulls' 116-109 loss to the Detroit Pistons...at least that would explain his bizarre post-game comments, which were ridiculous in any and every context imaginable: "With our style of play, there's no reason we shouldn't have beaten that team. I think Detroit's a great team, but I still think we are better than them, really. I feel like we're a better team." Ooookay. I guess Joakim didn't learn very much in that extra year at college. No time for class. Too sleepy.
Chris Duhon puts the "Me" in "Team": C-Du was fined and suspended that Bulls loss to the Pistons I mentioned one paragraph ago for missing the team's morning shootaround. Now, you'd probably assume that a roleplayer who's trying desperately to cling to the remains of his NBA career would be at least somewhat humble and apologetic after an incident like this. But you'd be totally wrong. Said Duhon: "It wasn't my fault. I didn't get my wakeup call." Now there's a heaping helping of personal responsibility for you. But it didn't stop there. "I haven't been playing the last six or seven games," said Duhon, conveniently forgetting the 25 minutes he played the previous Friday night against the Celtics. "Ususally, I don't play anyway, so it doesn't have that much of an effect on me." Of course, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordan both picked up two fouls in the first six minutes of the Pistons game, and Thabo Sefolosha was still out with a strained left groin. In other words, the Bulls needed Duhon, but Duhon wasn't available. Of course, he was available to fly to North Carolina to watch Saturday night's Duke-North Carolina game, which didn't end until 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. And the daylight-saving time changover made the night an hour shorter. Duhon chartered a flight to Detroit, but he still got in pretty late, which, you know, might have made him a little sleepy. Keep in mind, though, it's still not his fault. He didn't get his wakeup call. And he hasn't been playing anyway. So get off his back. (Sidenote: He is going to fit in so well with the Knicks this season...)
Kiss fight!: Who would have seen this coming? I mean, a kiss fight during Washington Wizards television broadcasts? Oh yes. It started when Steve Buckhantz (play-by-play) kissed Phil Chenier (color commentator) on the arena's Kiss Cam during a game, and Phil responded by kissing Steve back during a pre-game segment. Here's the first kiss:
And here's Phil's insideous revenge kiss:
Mark Cuban wages a one-billionaire war on the great Blogging Menace: Cube Steak officially banned "bloggers" from the Mavericks' locker room. And in a move that was more ironic than having 10,000 spoons when all you need to kill Alanis Morissette with is a knife, the announcement was made on his blog. This was, of course, a response to the "Fire Avery Johnson" campaign. A petulant and immature response, but a response nonetheless. And it wasn't the first time Cuban pooped on bloggers. Why does Cuban hate bloggers so much, when he, himself, is a blogger? I can only assume it must be a sign of his own deep-rooted self-loathing. Or, I dunno, maybe he's just a big douche.
John Hollinger's stat wizardry:In his review of the Bulls/Cavs/Sonics trade, Hollinger made it seem as if Cleveland GM Danny Ferry was making off like some kind of cartoon bandit: "This one works, big time. Answer me this: Would you rather have Hughes (12.0 player efficiency rating) or Szczerbiak (16.0)? Brown (8.5) or West (10.1)? Marshall (8.5) or Wallace (12.1)? Gooden (12.8) or Smith (17.4)?"
I thought this assessment was a wee bit bogus, mostly because Hollinger fiddled somewhat with the comparisons. After all, juxtaposing the PER of Shannon Brown and Delonte West didn't seem particularly fair, considering that Brown had appeared - and briefly - in only 15 games while West had played in 35 and gotten more minutes. Furthermore, Marshall was a seldom-used reserve who had made a mere 11 cameo appearances for the Cavs, whereas Ben Wallace was a starter who had played 50 games at a rate of more than 32 minutes per. And wouldn't Wallace versus Drew Gooden had make a better one-for-one comparison anyway? I guess what I'm saying is that, at the time, if felt as though Hollinger arranged the player matchoffs so he could use his PER numbers to support his "Cleveland won this one" argument.
But here's a little post-script to Hollinger's "This one works, big time" declaration. Wally's PER plummetted from 15.7 to 10.3 while Larry Hughes' initially soared from 11.3 to 15.3 before eventually settling at 12.4. Oh, and Drew Gooden's PER went from 12.7 to 17.4 with the Bulls...which is much better than Wallace's 12.4 PER with the Cavs. So, based on these numbers, was Hollinger wrong, big time? Particularly since the move didn't really do much to improve the Cavs (or the Bulls for that matter)? PER is just another number, folks. And like any other stat, it only tells part of a much larger story. Sorry.
Phoenix Suns bench flees in terror: Shaq goes running after a loose ball, and the Suns bench...well, I'd say they fled in terror like a bunch of little girls, but that would be an unfair insult to little girls everywhere.
Antoine Walker defies logic, refuses buyout: Kevin McHale may be an idiot, but he proved he wasn't stupid enough to pay Antoine Walker's for doing nothing. And 'Toine wasn't happy about it. "Obviously, they're rebuilding, and obviously I'm not in the future plans, so I felt like maybe there was an opportunity for me to leave. They wanted money back that I wasn't willing to give back. It didn't work out that way. We'll just have to play it out, six weeks, and then we'll see what happens in the summer." Walker, who was averaging 8 PPG on 36 percent shooting, was making $8.5 million for the season. He said that the team "low-balled" him, offering a buyout he felt was unreasonable and "ridiculous, actually." The only thing that would be ridiculous would be offering Walker anything more than cab fare and a swift boot to the butt.
The Clippers prove they are who we thought they were: First, they let Sam Cassell bully them into a buyout. Then they replaced Sam-I-Wasn't with...Smush Parker! Wooooow. Basketbawful reader Wild Yams, who drew my attention to the signing, uttered prophetic words when he said: "Are the Clippers trying to get Elton Brand to opt out this summer or something?"
Rafer Alston versus Sasha Vujacic: Near the end of the Rockets 104-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers -- Houston's 22nd win in a row -- Rafer Alston went all NBA Street on Sasha Vujacic, Sasha hacked him for it, and Rafer responded by sticking a finger in Sasha's mug before getting restrained by a referee. It's kind of a shame that Alston had to transform back into Skip 2 My Lou at the tail end of his best game as a pro. It's also kind of a shame that Vujacic is such a douche.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor accuses Kevin Garnett of tanking: Sometimes the best way to draw attention away from your crappy stewardship of the crappy team your crappy GM assembled is to take a cheap shot at your former stuperstar player. That way you're not a bad judge of basketball talent, you're just an idiot. And boy oh boy did Taylor let his stuperosity take center stage when he suggested that Kevin Garnett laid down on the job last season. In responding to a reporter's suggestion that the T-Wolves had tanked last season, Taylor said: "I don't think that. I don't like that so much. I don't like that. It was more like KG tanked it (for missing the final five games of the regular season). I think the other guys still wanted to play. But it sure changed the team and didn't make us (as good)." Now, some people think that experts and fans baby Garnett, and maybe we do...to a degree. But in this case, I'm going to let KG's intensity and work ethic speak for themselves. I mean, Garnett missed only 23 games in 12 seasons as a Timberwolf. Dude straight up brought it.
T.J. Ford freaks the hell out: Looks like the Pacers landed a real "character guy" this summer...
Drew Gooden's ego goes crazy: After a 31-point, 16-rebound game -- Gooden's ninth double-double in the 16 games since he was traded to the Bulls -- Drew was asked whether he could keep it up. Said Gooden: ''Yes, I can. And I will continue to work to get better at it. This is something that's not new to me, but I've got to brush off some of the old tools and put them back into use. Because I have had a couple years [playing with LeBron James] where I was the guy that goes out, works hard and grabs rebounds and becomes a defender with offensive capabilities." In case you need a Gooden-to-English translation, that means playing with LeBron was holding him back, and not that it's easier to put up big numbers when you're on a lousy, lottery-bound team. But Gooden's mouth wasn't finished. Not by a long shot. "I possess the tools. I don't want to sound cocky, but I think I possess everything. I feel like I can pass, block shots, play great defense, play help defense, shoot threes." No, not done yet. There was more. ''I believe that I can do it all. And confidence is the number one factor when it comes to offense. I can score in the post; I can score with my back to the basket, face up.'' You go, Drew. I look forward to watching you win the MVP next season. Look out, NBA! (Sidenote: Gooden had 2 points on 0-for-5 shooting in his very next game.)
Dirk auditions for a broadcasting job: The best part is near the end, when he says "Short bus!" in response to a terrible shot.
Andrew Bogut high-fives himself: One truly is the lonliest number.
Shaq versus Pat Riley: Ever notice how often Shaq always gets in these little Quote Feuds with former coaches and teammates? The latest War of the Words came after Shaq made the following statement about his new home in the Valley of the Sun: "I love playing for this coach and I love playing with these guys. We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I'm actually on a team again." Of course, these comments only served to depress old Sad Sack Riley. "It's sad that he says those things. We shared so much here, together, for three years, good and bad, 3 1/2 years. I just think it's sad that he's got to do that." Sadder than making Shaq spend his golden years playing alongside Ricky Davis and Mark Blount? I don't think so, Riles. When told of Riley's response, The Big Expletive-slinger said, "I don't give a shit how he interpreted it." After being reminded that the reporters couldn't use that quote because he cussed, Shaq said, "Sure you can. You can quote me, brother. You can put an 's,' then the tic-tac-toe, the 'at' sign and then the other symbols." He may no longer be the MDE, but he is and will always be the MQE (Most Quotable Ever).
Chris Webber wimps out: Why did he finally decide to retire? In Webber's own words: "Rehab is so hard. So monotonous, so boring. I really didn't want to try to rehab and come back this season because I don't think that's possible." And doesn't that statement just sort of epitomize the most frustrating aspect of Webber's career? The idea that there was more there and he simply didn't have the heart and/or strength of will to make it happen. Maybe rehabbing the absolute living hell out of his knee wouldn't have changed anything, but mabye it would have...? But we'll never know. Just like we'll never know whether the 2001-02 Sacramento Kings might have won the title if only Webber wouldn't have gotten a case of the yips during all the close games. Sometimes playing The What If Game can be fun. But as it pertains to Webber and his career, it's just painful. And kind of depressing.