Tuesday, November 07, 2006

we've found Him at last!

It is the Law of Conservation of David Eckstein-esque figures in American sports. In essence, the number of "David Eckstein's," so to speak, must be equivalent in the NBA, the NFL, and the MLB. In the MLB, the holder of the crown of David Eckstein is quite clear; that would be David Mark Eckstein of the St. Louis Winne- errr, excuse me, Cardinals. In the NFL on the other hand, we are currently witnessing a hotly contested race between Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri, and Mike Vrabel. (Though Vinatieri scared some followers with his "anti-clutch" performance Sunday). To me, personally, it's got to be Brady. Guy's just money. 4 Interceptions... can't touch that.

Anyways, back to the article. As the title would imply, we've finally found the forerunner in the NBA David Eckstein Race we've all been looking for. Whom, you ask? His name's Armstrong. Darrell Armstrong.

Interesting article, from the AP of all places:

INDIANAPOLIS -- At 38, Darrell Armstrong is the oldest of the Indiana Pacers by far.

Let me guess, he may be the oldest, but he’s also the most spirited, most enthusiastic, and most gritty.

After three games with his new team, though, his energy and enthusiasm are making it awfully tough for coach Rick Carlisle to give him the reduced playing time that's more befitting a player of his age.

How did I know.

Obtained in an offseason trade with Dallas, the 13-year NBA veteran is also bringing a steadying influence to a young team that has had to deal with a flock of off-court distractions the past two years.

Oh, and don’t forget, he’s also bring his career 10.3 ppg scoring average. As well as his breathtaking 11.7 EFF.

"A lot of people were saying that maybe I don't have nothing in the tank, where I wasn't scoring like I used to," the 6-foot-1 guard said after Monday's practice.

A lot of people were not saying that you don’t maybe not have nothing not left not in the tank?


"To be honest with you, I wasn't even looking at the basket in Dallas. I was trying to get guys involved.

Yeah. You took one FGA approximately every 4.88 minutes. Let’s do a little arithmetic here. 4.88 minutes = 292.8 seconds. The average NBA possession lasts about 20 seconds, so 292.8/18 = 14 possessions. Divide 14/2 to get Dallas possessions = 7. Average team turns the ball over once every 7 possessions, so that would mean you took one out of every six shots for your team. “Wasn’t even looking at the basket?”

No, not really. It’s just that you had a hideous 30.5 % FG percentage, so you managed to rack up that enormous 2.1 ppg figure.

"We had so many weapons offensively, sometimes somebody's got to take a different role. I took the role of being a defensive player, of pushing the ball, changing the pace of the game, trying to get guys easy shots," he said. "Here, my job is a little different. It's still to get guys easy shots but also to look at my shot."

Yes, your 30.5 FG% shot.

Armstrong averaged a career-low 2.1 points in 10 minutes a game for the Mavericks last season.

Because he shot 30.5% from the floor.

He came to the Pacers with Rawle Marshall and Josh Powell in July as part of a trade for veteran guard Anthony Johnson.

Who incidentally did not shoot 30.5% from the floor. (Actually, 44%).

In three games with Indiana (2-1), he's averaging 11 points and 3.7 assists in 17 minutes a game.

3 game sample size. Enough said.

He's also shooting 65 percent from the field -- including a team-high 8-of-12 3-pointers.

3 game sample size. Blah blah blah I don’t care.

"When you can be productive on the floor, Rick's going to keep you out there," he said.

Apparently Rick will keep you out there even when you’re not productive.

"Every coach has a plan for an older guy or your role players, how long you want to keep them in, what they're going to do. I know Rick probably has a plan to play me 12 to 15 minutes. I guess he looks up sometimes and I'm past 15 minutes in the third quarter."

I am sure he sighs in relief.

Armstrong played 19 points in a 100-91 loss to New Orleans on Friday night.

He played 19 points. Brilliant.

He came back the following night with 13 points in 17 minutes in a 109-95 victory at New York.

Don’t you mean 17 minutes in 13 points?

So far, the strain hasn't bothered him.

“It’s a challenge for me every night.” Yes, Darrell Armstrong said that.

"As long as I get my rest and relax," he said. "I felt good Saturday night from the back-to-back. But it's a challenge for me every night, not only in games but in practice as well because I want to keep my mind set the right way."

Nice. He says the strain is a “challenge” and you, anonymous AP press writer, say it isn’t. I guess you win this round… I mean who better than an anonymous AP press writer to know Darrell Armstrong better than Darrell Armstrong?

Armstrong, who was not drafted out of Fayetteville State in 1991, played in the minor leagues and in Europe before he signed as a free agent with Orlando late in the 1995 season. He played only three games with the Magic that year and 13 the next season before his career took off in 1996, and his best seasons were in 2000, when he averaged 16.2 points, and 2001, at 15.9 points a game.

Wow, that scoring average really did just take off. 16.2 ppg? 15.9 ppg? Mind blowing.

The roster shake-up this season has made Armstrong and Sarunas Jasikevicius, so far, the top reserves at guard behind starters Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley.

And this relates to Darrell Armstrong’s immense heart and enthusiasm how?

And with the team still trying to overcome the chaos following the brawl with Detroit Pistons fans in 2004 and the recent nightclub shooting involving Jackson, Carlisle finally has something positive to build on.

Ah. Darrell Armstrong’s heart and energy. I get it.

"I like our team. I like the way they interact,"' he said of the new team chemistry, even with Jackson's legal troubles. "They seem to like each other and care about each other, and it shows when they're playing."

Yep. It really is manifested in their 2-1 record. Two wins in three games (???) I doubt any team’s ever accomplished that before.

Carlisle said Armstrong's leadership and ability -- despite his age -- don't surprise him a bit.

Yeah, he averaged 16.2 ppg in a season, for crying out loud. Give the guy his due.

"We knew Darrell was a guy that's been a very successful player in this league for a long time," Carlisle said.

We also know that Darrell was a guy that averaged a 3.5 Approximate Value over his 12 year career. (where a score of 10 would be equivalent to the average NBA starter).

"We know he's getting toward the end of his career, but he still has great energy, he still has great heart and enthusiasm, and those things can be contagious for a team, and that's what we need from him."

Whoops. Nearly forgot that outstanding 99.37 GHaEaTTTCBCFaT (Great Heart and Enthusiasm and Those Things That Can Be Contagious For A Team).

Jackson, who was charged with felony criminal recklessness and misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct after firing a gun outside a strip club last month, has a pretrial hearing scheduled Dec. 6. His lawyer has said Jackson acted in self-defense.

Not to worry. Darrell Armstrong will save you!

In the meantime, he's averaging 14 points a game in his three starts.

Read: Darrell Armstrong is averaging 14 points a game in his three starts, but he’s just giving the credit to Jackson. What a nice guy.

"It doesn't bother me," he said. "It's not in my mind. I just play basketball. I've just been going out and doing my job, haven't been worried about nothing but helping my team. We're 2-1 now, off to a decent start," Jackson said.

There’s that amazing 2-1 stat again.

"All we can do is get better."

What? Are you for real? You mean three wins in three games? Whoa.

The Pacers play Philadelphia (3-0), the only unbeaten team in the Eastern Conference, on Tuesday night.

And Darrell Armstrong and his amazing 3.5 AV will be there to steal the show.

Thank you, Associated Press.

And God Bless America. We've found him!

Nah. Maybe he's just the Neifi Perez of the NBA.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Worst Recap Ever?

It's definitely up there

Check out NBA.com's recap for the Warriors-Mavericks game.

So... who won?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


So… the NBA Season is almost upon us! Hooray! And who better than Pirate-Man to join us with such palpable excitement in the air!

How do I love the NBA?
Let me count the ways …

Oh.. since we’re all in such a good mood, let’s just pretend you wrote “How much do I love the NBA” and used good grammar.

1. Parity. The dynasty era is probably -- hopefully -- over, replaced by a league of very good teams with exquisitely unique profiles.

Umm. The league did have very good teams during the “dynasty era.” See the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Charlotte/NO Hornets and Indiana Pacers none of whom won an NBA title. Then again, I guess none of them had “exquisitely unique profiles.”

As of right now, no fewer than 10 of them -- yes, one-third of the field -- have a legitimate shot at making it to June if things break right.

Right… except that I just named 10 teams above all had a legitimate chance of making it to June as well.

2. Style. For the first time since the end of the Showtime Lakers, the league is trending sharply toward offense, with five shooters on the floor being a requisite.

It’s really mystifying as to where NBA Article Writers came up with this offense trend notion. Honestly, which team other than the Suns has five shooters on the floor? Or even four shooters… or three?

That means control-freak coaches can't strangle the life out of the game. It also means 10-point leads in the fourth quarter don't feel like 25-point leads.

Yes, that’s due to the fact that 10≠25. In fact, get this, 25>10 (!!!).

3. The gang of '03. It isn't often that the same rookie class produces two transcendent players, as was the case in 1979 (Larry/Magic) and 1984 (M.J./Hakeem). But LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have given the game a seismic jolt -- and a rivalry that will be played out over a decade.

Unrelated side note: Did you know that the New Jersey Nets drafted a guy named Clifford Robinson in 1979? Fast-forward 27 years to today where another Clifford Robinson plays for, that’s right, the New Jersey Nets.

Back to the story:

1981: Isiah Thomas/Rolando Blackman
1982: James Worthy/Dominique Wilkins
1985: Patrick Ewing/Joe Dumars
1987: David Robinson/Reggie Miller
1992: Shaquille O’Neal/Alonzo Mourning
1993: Chris Webber/Sam Cassell
1994: Jason Kidd/Grant Hill
1995: Kevin Garnett/Rasheed Wallace/Jerry Stackhouse

1996 deserves its own special indentation. How could you possibly have missed this year???

Allen Iverson
Kobe Bryant
Ray Allen
Steve Nash
Peja Stojakovic
Jermaine O’Neal
Zydrunas Ilgauskus

Yes, that's Kobe #@@%’n Bryant AND Allen $#@$%’n Iverson!!

1997: Timothy Duncan/Tracy McGrady
1998: Vince Carter/Dirk Nowitzki/Paul Pierce
1999: Elton Brand/Steve Francis/Baron Davis/Andrei Kirilenko
2002: Yao Ming/Amare Stoudemire

One word: PWND.

4. Amare's back. By now it is clear that microfracture surgery requires a two-year recovery, give or take a few months, so Amare Stoudemire cannot yet be the awesome specimen who was last seen dominating the 2005 playoffs. But he's going to be pretty close to it by the spring.

Yes.. so… you’re thankful that Amare isn’t going to be as good as he used to be. Cool…

5. Nellieball. Don Nelson has returned, somehow weary of his daily diet of mai tais and poker parties, and he's ready to have some fun for once.

Haha, good one. It’s shocking how you became a professional NBA Article Writer instead of a comedian.

Golden State will play fast and loose and very small -- as many of Nellie's teams have -- and he has a superb talent pool to work with this time.

“Nellie” this year has: (injured?) Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy.
“Nellie” of yesteryear had: Steve Nash, Michael Finley, Dirk Nowitzki.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going with the second one no matter how many “superb talent pool” points the first one has.

6. The All-Star Game. It will be in Vegas. Perfect: For the first time ever, the most garish sports event in America (it's starting to make the Super Bowl look like Tuesday bingo at St. Lucy's) will be held in the tackiest place in America.

The All-Star Game is “starting to make the Super Bowl look like Tuesday bingo at St. Lucy's.” Cool. Keep this in mind, readers. Pirate-Man loves the NBA All-Star game to the point where he taunts the Super Bowl just to make his point clear. Nothing wrong about that… but just keep this in mind.

7. Grant's Mountain. This could turn out to be one of those alternate universe deals, but Grant Hill actually has become the most physically fit player on Orlando's roster.

This is the same thing as saying “Damon Stoudemire has turned out to be the most drug-free player on the Portland Trailblazers.” Or “David Eckstein was the grittiest player on the Anaheim Angels.”

If he stays that way, and the kids undergo another growth spurt, it could be Magic.

Yeah, great play on words. Like “Magic” and the Orlando “Magic.” That’s beautiful.

8. Globalization. No matter what country you're from -- OK, if you're from Iceland, go play chess -- you have somebody to root for. And, everyone agrees, the European emphasis on skills has enhanced the game.

“European emphasis on skills.” Haha. It’s all about the Andrea Baloney guy. Damn Americans.

9. Short stuff. For those of us who were victims of genetic oversight, behold: For significant stretches each night, this will be a game of short people because every team recognizes the need to be able to go with a speed lineup.

The average NBA player height is 6’7”, up from 6’6” the last two years. Owned. Also, a “speed lineup” is the random assortment of bench players coaches throw onto the court for the last two seconds of every quarter to let the starters sit early.

And every one is a tribute to the greatest invention of the 21st century: the no-touch rule on the perimeter.

We are all “tributes” to the no-touch rule? ... What? Anyone else have any idea what this means?

10. Shaq. He is the greatest big man of this or any other era, and if you don't believe it, please refer back to Reason No. 1. It took his decline to make this a balanced, anything-goes league again. He'll be 35 in March -- enjoy him while you can.

Reason number one… Ah. Yes. “1. Parity. The dynasty era is probably -- hopefully -- over, replaced by a league of very good teams with exquisitely unique profiles.”

So, I take it that you think Shaq didn’t have an exquisitely unique profile. Mr. O’Neal begs to differ. 300+ pounds of 99.99999 body fat is quite an “exquisitely unique profile.”

Sometimes love does mean having to say you're sorry.

So you’re going to tell us why you dislike the NBA in an article that’s supposed to tell us how you love the NBA. Fantastic.

1. Drop the noise. There's nothing wrong with music, but on behalf of middle-aged people from Seattle to Miami, can we drop the damn decibel level a few notches, please?

Middle-aged people… I love that. Who do you think you're kidding. You're probably like 90. Or 900.

(Lone exception: Springsteen.) And there's nothing wrong with enthusiastic P.A. announcers, but can they stop talking to us like we're 9 years old?

Maybe if you stopped writing like a 9 year old, they might.

Speaking of which …

2. Change the TV culture. The boorish mix of TV "talent" appeals to none other than executive producers, who want us to share their love for this gnarled mass of incoherent slobber.

What… the… hell. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Maybe it's like a twist on that old Frank Zappa line: Most basketball journalism is people who can't report interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't think.

See above.

We're inundated with fawning noisemakers with monomaniacal obsessions to hear their own voices, yet none of these networks can find a regular studio spot for sharp guys such as David Aldridge?

I thought David Aldridge worked for ESPN? No?


That was probably the most confusing paragraph I’ve ever read in my life. From what I understood… you’re complaint about that National Basketball Association is that we should “change the TV culture.” Ooookay… then.

3. Shift the balance. The Board of Governors should tweak the schedule to emphasize rivalries -- just for one season, to see how it works out. One reason: Division alignments don't mean anything anymore, and nobody really circles the calendar for Toronto-Charlotte or Portland-Dallas.

Basically, if we implemented your plan, instead of Toronto-Charlotte we would get stuff like Charlotte-Orlando. Or Philadelphia-Atlanta. Not pretty.

Solution: Cut back on the number of games between nondivision opponents within the same conference (from four games to three), then take the six leftover games and turn them into intradivisional matchups. It would save on travel, make home-and-home sets more common and elevate enmity.

Also, it would replace good matchups like Dallas-Phoenix with games like Portland-Seattle or Charlotte-Philadelphia. I can only speak for myself, but honestly, I think if I had to watch Victor Crap Khrap Khyrap, er, Victor K. face off against Robert Swift on back to back nights, I would strangle myself. No matter how much enmity they exhibit.

On second thought …

4. Cut the schedule entirely. Not a lot, just seven or eight games. Get the playoffs started by early April, finished by early June. These long seasons are beginning to cut into WNBA viewing time.

W.N.B.A… wow. I can only pray that this is a joke. Somehow, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t.

5. All-Star Game. Take it overseas for a week -- Paris, Rome, it doesn't matter. The American media no longer cares about it -- the print guys can't stand it, actually -- and this would play into the league's compulsive need for world attention.

Yes I’m sure the Roman/French press would love to cover an event that includes either one player of their nation (T. Parker if it was in Paris) or zero. This would be analogous to Sweden holding its annual women’s 70 and over Croquet Championship in Los Angeles. Or something.

As for logistics, there's only one snag: The Friday night events would need to start at 3 a.m. to satisfy TNT's sponsors.

Dang. You’re smart and you’re funny.

6. All-Star Game, etc. Have I mentioned it's a yawner? Try this, just once: No money for the losers, and take a page from baseball by rewarding home-court advantage in The Finals to the winners. Then maybe you'll see a real game.

I seriously doubt the day will ever come when NBA Article Writers World Wide realize that the All-Star Game is played for this thing called “fun.” Like when players and fans “have a good time.”

In fact, the All-Star Game is pretty awesome in its current state. One could say it’s so good that it’s “starting to make the Super Bowl look like Tuesday bingo at St. Lucy's.” I wonder who could have said that quote. Sounds awfully familiar.

7. The draft. Another one-year experiment:

This just in: The NBA is not your personal laboratory to perform whatever experiments your warped mind can concoct. In fact, you’re just an NBA Article Writer who must chronicle what happens in the NBA, and not dictate what should happen.

Change the draft lottery to give all 30 teams an equal chance to win it. That's right: one pingpong ball apiece, national TV drawing. Why keep rewarding mediocrity? And why not remove the trend of teams tanking in March and April because they're in the hunt for the top pick?

Why not shut up?

8. Rule tweak. Breakaway fouls should result in two free throws, the ball and a full shot clock.

So… you think a breakaway foul (which is normally just a touch or soft grab) should receive a greater punishment than a Type III Flagrant Foul. Absolutely brilliant.

Anything that is a disincentive to fouling is a plus; anything that creates more open-court stuff also is a plus.

Ladies and germs, The Pinnacle Of NBA Journalism Has Been Achieved. “Open court stuff” FTW.

Dave D'Alessandro covers the NBA for The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.

And It Is Dave D’Alessandro, Also Known As Pirate Man, Who Has Enabled Us To Reach This Shining Zenith Of NBA Article Writing.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mo' Deveney!

Being a law-abiding and moral citizen, I would never condone peeking at the vast array of gambling Web sites and established sports books out there for anything other than recreational purposes.


I, for one, favor handshake wagers, not kneecap wagers.

Good to know.

From time to time, though, my browser wanders to a real-money website or two, just as my body sometimes wanders (involuntarily) to the sports book at Bellagio.

Okay, we kind of get the picture. You are law abiding, and don’t like to gamble.

My browser made the journey this morning, for example.

Are you thinking about starting this article, or “blog,” any time soon?

The reason was legit.

I’m sure it was.

See, I know what I think of the upcoming NBA season.

Awesome! Finally! All those preceding sentences were worth it! Now we finally know that Sean Deveney “knows what he thinks of the upcoming NBA season”!

Thanks to blogs and emails, I know what you folks think about the season, too.

No way. You know what you think AND you know what we think? You’ve got to be kidding me.

But when it comes to money-where-your-mouth-is reality, you can't beat Vegas. Or, in this case, cyber-Vegas. These people stake their livelihoods on getting the odds just right. Seems worth it to see what they think.

Wait… so you mean you were lying to us in your introduction?!? Say it ain’t so!

Not surprisingly, there are four clear favorites to win the championship. There are four other teams ranked at 12-1 odds or shorter. After that, you're looking at a bunch of 20-1 longshots.

Your “browser” seems to have done a pretty thorough job.

But, couldn't this be the year of the longshot? Obviously, the favorites gained that status for a reason. A closer look, though, reveals holes a-plenty.

1. Miami. (Listed in the 4-1 range)
The Heat caught a bit of postseason magic, thanks to Dwyane Wade. Remember, Miami looked terrible in the opening games of the Finals before Wade simply took over. For a few weeks last spring, he played like Michael Jordan --maybe not with the same talent, but certainly with the same determination and will to win.

Yeah, of course! The reason Dwyane Wade made so many of those 20 footers wasn’t because he’s talented; it’s because of his determination and will to win. In fact, one could say he knows how to win! He’s a winner! That’s why he won!

But Jordan did that year after year. We don't know yet if Wade can do it, and, with the pummeling he took over the course of last season, it'll be tough for him to stay healthy through another championship run.

Oh, so Jordan was a “winner” too? You should write a book about this stuff. Seriously. Call it “Deveneyball.” Or something. “Deveneyball: David Eckstein is my hero Learn How To Win!”

He has a supporting cast of veterans who might be less motivated now that they've gotten their Miami rings, so Wade figures to have a stiffer challenge this year.

Miami Heat Locker Room, Halftime, Game 7, 2008 NBA Finals:

Dwyane Wade: Come on guys! We’re losing 72-40! Let’s do something!

Shaq: Sit down D-Wade! I’m tired.

Mourning: Yeah! We just won last year! Give it a rest!

Wade: Come on coach! Do something!

Riley: They’re right, sit down Dwyane! We just won last year!

2. Dallas. (Also listed around 4-1)
The Mavericks sure look like a championship team. They have talent, depth and good coaching. They have a superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, in his prime. They made some alterations, adding veteran reserve point guard Anthony Johnson, plus bit-part vets Devean George and Austin Croshere.

I think I just choked. You’re… saying… adding… Austin… Croshere… was a good thing? Wow.

But, last year, coach Avery Johnson continuously referred to his desire for his team to play, "playground basketball." That translates into something like this: "We're not tough enough." That's been the Mavs' weak spot throughout the Nowitzki era, and I don't know that Johnson can coach them into toughness.

Yeah, “being tough” is just like “knowing how to win.” I mean, you either know how to do it or you don’t.

3. San Antonio. (Listed pretty consistently at 9-2)
Most of us in the media focused on the Spurs' age as a primary reason for their loss to the Mavericks last postseason. And most of us were wrong. It wasn't age that was the problem for the Spurs; it was versatility.

And age. The only reason their lack of versatility was revealed was because their main guys were old/unhealthy.

They lacked players who combined size and quickness, guys who can keep pace with non-traditional big men like Nowitzki or Brad Miller.

This is synonymous for “they were old.”

The Spurs did well to address the issue economically by acquiring lower-tier players like Francisco Elson, Jackie Butler, Eric Williams and Matt Bonner, dumping lead-footed Rasho Nesterovic and Nazr Mohammed in the process.

Who were old.

Problem is, the Spurs will have to make changes to their defensive scheme, which is designed to funnel the ball toward Tim Duncan and (go back in time with me here) David Robinson.

… David Robinson. Who’s no longer on the team. They’re running plays for David Robinson. Brilliant.

Nesterovic and Mohammed were not Robinson, but they were, at least, 7-foot shot-blockers.

Yes, and also, get this, they were on the team!!

Elson and Butler are not shot-blocking threats.

Yes, but they too are on the team! What a novel concept!

Thus, the Spurs are going to have to seriously alter the defensive scheme that has been such an integral part of their success.

Yes, a good start would be to quit running plays for David Robinson. Who isn’t on the team.

5. Detroit. (Listed around 7-1)
In the long run, the Pistons did the right thing in not bringing Ben Wallace back, but it certainly makes things tenuous in the short run. This will have to be a more offensive-minded team, something the Pistons tried last year with great regular-season success and miserable postseason failure.

In the 2005-2006 regular season, the Detroit Pistons averaged 96.8 PPG… good for 19th in the league. That’s right 18 different teams scored more points each game. In the 05-06 playoffs, the Detroit Pistons ranked third in scoring among playoff teams.

As much as players respect Wallace, they still back coach Flip Saunders and they still have the talent for a title run. They just look less imposing.

I find it absolutely hilarious that the Detroit News just recently published an article entitled “[Rasheed] Wallace hates zone” which includes such supportive statements as “It’s terrible.” Yeah! At least they still back Coach!

6. Chicago. (All over the place, from 7-1 to 25-1)
Wallace and P.J. Brown figure to be the short-term answer for the young Bulls. They'll defend, they'll rebound, they'll lead in the locker room.

P.J. Brown and Ben Wallace combined ’05-’06 ppg: 16.2. Oh… right. They lead in the locker room! Nearly forgot to take that into consideration.

The Bulls are a legitimate contender, but the offense is a big question. Their scoring tends to come from their guards -- Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich -- who are streaky.

Gordon and Hinrich averaged 32.8 out of the Bulls’ combined 97.8 PPG average. So yeah… the scoring doesn’t really “tend” to come from them. Unless you ignore the other 65 points. Which you… did.

Small forwards Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni don't post up as much as they should.

Maybe Scott Skiles should try “deploying” them more often. Heh.

That means their post scoring is going to have to come from Wallace, who is simply not very good with the ball, and Brown, who has a career scoring average of just 9.4 points per game.

Wallace is “simply not very good with the ball”? No way!!! @#@!%#@!$#@!!!!

7. Cleveland. (In the 10-1 to 12-1 range)
Until Larry Hughes finds a comfortable role, this is still a one-man team.

Yeah! I hear Lebron’s even gonna sell the popcorn in home games from now on!

It helps that the man in question is LeBron James, of course, but the Cavs have questions in every other area. Their point guards are Eric Snow, Damon Jones, David Wesley and Daniel Gibson.

Please name another team that has this much veteran depth (ignore Gibson) at the PG position. Oh that’s right, you can’t. And good job saying “every other area” and then mentioning one area. Sheer brilliance.


Yes, your articles do have the tendency to elicit that response.

They're still not quite sure what they have in Drew Gooden, who averaged a career-low 10.7 points last year.

He also posted an 18.9 EFF for ’04-’05 and a ridiculous 18.1 RbRate for last year. So, uh, yeah they are pretty sure what they have in Drew Gooden.

They're hoping for good things from rookie Shannon Brown, but they did little else to ease depth and perimeter shooting worries.

Yeah, maybe they should’ve gotten Ben Wallace! I hear he’s been busting out the long ball all summer!

8. New Jersey. (Between 12-1 and 15-1)

Bringing in rookie Marcus Williams could pay off right away, but the Nets' primary problem is the frontcourt, which features too much of soon-to-be-40 forward Puff Robinson.

Who will not start.

They brought in 22-year-old rookie Mile Ilic,

Who will not start.

but he's not likely to help right away. It looks like the Nets will have Nenad Krstic,

Who will start and posted a decent 12.2 RbRate in 05-06.


Who will not start, dammit.

and Jason Collins,


which is a pretty serious problem.

Who will not sta… er, sorry.

Those are the top contenders, but there isn't one I'd put my mortgage on.

Maybe you can get your browser to put its mortgage on it.

Or even your mortgage. These teams are good, but you don't get a sense of greatness here, which leaves this thing open for longshots.

You don't get a sense of "greatness" eh? What exactly does that engender? Amazing "team chemistry"? Great "clubhouse vibes"? Or... could it be? A team full of "winners"?

Hmm. Clippers at 30-1? Jazz at 75-1? Hornets at 80-1?

I sure hope this is the year of the longshot.

Yes, fantastic job on completely neglecting to say why that is. Sports writing at its best!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Some "Deep NBA Thought." Woot.

After a brief hiatus, our very own Sean Deveney re-emerges into the world of bad NBA article writing!

A quick request by my trusty editor, Stan McNeal, has sent me deep into NBA thought.

Aha! So we have a certain trusty editor to thank! Why, thank you!

Stan asked me to nominate some candidates for the NBA's top breakout player for the upcoming season, which, I found, is tricky business. Defining a breakout player can be as difficult as defining an MVP.

Gosh, I totally agree. I mean look at the baseball season that just ended! One can really never truly decide between Travis Hafner’s unbelievable OPS and Derek Jeter’s SKFBTWPIHC. For those of you ignorant readers, that would be his record setting “Saving Kittens From Burning Trees While Positively Influencing His Clubhouse” numbers.

Guys like Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh already have had breakout seasons, but they have not had that now-the-world-knows-me type of exposure yet. In that sense, you could say Elton Brand broke out last season, in which he went from being a good player on bad teams to a great player on a good team — and in the process, became more of a household name for sports fans.

Hey Sean? Generally you have a “break out” season by… breaking out. As in, having ridiculously better numbers than you had in the rest of your career. Elton Brand?

Career until ’05-’06: 19.6 ppg, 10.5 rpg

’05-’06: 24.7 ppg, 10.0 rpg

Just saying…

That could happen to both Bosh and Howard this year.

Yeah! All they have to do is… play the same and they’ll have had breakout seasons! Awesome how that works.

But for the sake of our little conversation here, let's assume that, in order to have a breakout season, you have to be early in your NBA career, and you have to be well out of the realm of the common sports fan's knowledge.

Joe Mauer just had a “breakout” season and he’s still out of the “realm of the common sports fan’s knowledge.”

With those conditions, I came up with five guys I'd look for to have a breakout year. As always, I'm interested in hearing your additions, subtractions and mindless ridicule.


1. Charlie Bell, Bucks. Milwaukee traded fragile T.J. Ford,

Yeah, go ahead and jump on the “TJ Ford is fragile” bandwagon. Seriously, he’s had one freak injury, and now sports writers all over make it seem like he’s the second coming of Grant Hill.

in part, because they liked what they saw out of Bell at the end of last season.

No, it’s purely because they bought into the overhype of Mr. “I scored 50 points in a meaningless game for the Toronto Rapters so I’ve now officially broken out!”

Bell had a hard time fitting into the NBA because he was a 6-3 shooting guard in college. Getting significant playing time in March last season, Bell averaged 12.1 points and 4.1 assists while handling point guard duties when Ford was injured.

Ford, ’05-’06: 12.2 ppg, 6.6 apg

Near the end of that month, he led the team to back-to-back wins in which he had 24 assists and the Bucks averaged 128.5 points.

Yes, great job using a sample size of two games.

He is a great defender and can shoot — this could wind up being an upgrade over Ford.

I am willing to bet anyone 50 bucks that TJ Ford has a better season than Charlie Bell.

2. Monta Ellis, Warriors. We still might be a year away from Ellis' breakout season, but the guy is going to be good.

So he’s a “year away from his breakout season” so you’re putting him on your 2006-2006 breakout list? Fantastic! I always love to see good, logical reasoning, and honestly, have you ever failed me in that regard?

Drafted out of high school in the second round last year, the only question about Ellis is whether he will put in the work it will take to be an everyday NBA player.

Somehow, I think that no matter how much “work he puts in,” he’ll never get past Baron Davis on the depth chart. Just a thought. But keep working Monta!

A year or two in college probably would have helped him in that area. Still, he showed last year that he does belong in the NBA.

There are about 400-500 players in the NBA. How does proving that he is among one of these hundreds show that he’ll have a break out year again? Or will all 400 players have a break out year?

He is one of the five quickest guys in the league,

Hmm. Here’s 10 guys faster than him: Steve Nash, Jason Terry, Chris Paul, TJ Ford, Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade, Rip Hamilton, Rafer Alston, Allen Iverson, Jahidi White. Oh wait, forget that last one.

and even if he never develops a completely reliable outside shot, he is going to score.

That sure makes a lot of sense.

With Baron Davis and Jason Richardson in the backcourt, it might be hard for Ellis to get court time, but I suspect that if anyone can find time for him, it's new coach Don Nelson.

“Finding time” does not equal “being an everyday player.” I mean, Vitaly Potapenko “found time.”

3. Luol Deng, Bulls. The only thing that has kept Deng from being a breakout player is his health.

He played 78 games in 2005-2006.. So you’re telling me that if he had just played in those four games he missed, he would’ve been a breakout player?

He is capable of scoring 17-20 points per game, though the Bulls' slow-down pace probably will keep him away from 20-point games.

Yeah, too bad he missed those four games. I mean, he could have really gone off. Like, 80 point games or something. Talk about fragile.

He has long arms and is a solid defender, but it seems that coach Scott Skiles has not quite figured out how to deploy Deng yet.

“Deploy Deng”? What is this, the Vietnam War?

That, in part, is because Deng has not quite harnessed his skills — he can post up, he can put it on the floor, he can pull up for jumpers, but he is not sure when he should be doing what.

Inside Luol Dong’s Head (the first installment of the 7 part series!):

Luol Deng’s Right Brain: We should really put the ball on the floor, Luol.

Luol Deng’s Left Brain: Nah. Let’s post up.

Luol Deng’s Right Brain: Hold up, hold up. Coach hasn’t even deployed us yet. Let’s stop getting ahead of ourselves here.

Hopefully, this is the year Deng, who is only 21, puts it together.

“It” being the two sides of his brain of course.

4. Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers. This might sound weird, but a scout I know said the player he compares Varejao to is Ben Wallace. In part, that's because Varejao is lacking offensive polish.

So were Luc Longley, Bryant Reeves, and Isaac Austin.

But it's also because Varejao plays with heart, intensity and defensive abandon, much like Wallace.

Wallace’s HIDA (Heart, Intensity, Defensive Abandon)* ‘05-’06: 97 (!!!)

Varejoa’s HIDA ’05-’06: 43

Dude, that’s not even close.

I don't know if Varejao can dominate a game from the defensive end and on the glass the way Wallace can, but as he started getting increased minutes late last season, he began to show that he can be a rebounding machine, an ideal complement to LeBron James.

Why the hell is a “rebounding machine” the ideal complement? Come to think of it, you could have put anything here and it would have sounded good. Thieving rascal, you.

The re-signing of Drew Gooden probably does not help Varejao's chances at minutes, but I think the Cavaliers will find a way to play him 25 minutes per game.

Honestly, Varejao is the first guy you mention that both actually qualifies as a player who hasn’t yet had a “breakout” year, and possibly could have one this year. It sure would have made a lot more sense, though, for you to mention his 17.6 RbRate instead of the re-signing of Drew Gooden. Then again, you’re Sean Deveney, who am I kidding.

5. Ray Felton, Bobcats. Felton did not enjoy the early part of his rookie year — but the late part certainly opened some eyes. Yes, he needs to be more consistent with his jumper. But he did shoot 35.8 percent from the 3-point line. And few noticed that he averaged 16.6 points and 7.4 assists over the last three months of last year. The Bobcats will improve with Emeka Okafor and Sean May healthy. If Adam Morrison can be the scorer the Bobcats hope he is, Felton should average 15 points and 8 assists this year.

Ray Felton assessment is dead on… but why, why, why did you have to bring up Adam Morrison?

*Yes, that’s a made up stat, how’d you guess.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Adam Morrison > D-Wade, Lebron, 'Melo

Scoop Jackson has written one of his customarily insane pieces for ESPN's Page 2 (which I'm assuming is basically for writers who weren't good enough to write for "page 1" or the homepage. Hilarious how there's even a Page 3 now. Hmmm, maybe even I could write for Page 4...) This one's basically a random collection of garbage attempting to masquerade as both witty and somehow intelligent at the same time. Here's a real gem of a section that Scoop managed to pull out of his a.... nalytic mind:


Let me make it clear that I hate Adam Morrison. Not as a person, but his skills are just vastly overrated. I mean, it says a lot when in one of the worst draft classes in recent memory, the team with the first pick decides to take some random European guy that nobody's ever heard of and that they themselves probably just met a week prior. That would be Bargnani... or however you spell his name. Bargeanini? Baloney? Whatever. The point is that Adam Morrison looked lost at many times in college, to mention nothing of the NBA. Hmmm, too much analysis on just the heading, I suppose. Let's move on, Scoop.

Love Kirk Hinrich, but he's not going to save you.

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have Chris Paul saving me than Hinrich. Oh, and surprise! Chris Paul just happens to be on the team! What do you know!

Love Bron, but he's not going to save you.

Errr, yes he is. Game on the line, I want the ball in this guy's hands. In fact, I think I'd want the ball in the hands of literally 100 guys before I'd want Adam Morrison shooting.

Love Melo, but he can't drop 35 every game and he can't trade 3s with the world.

Yes, but he also shot the best FG% in "close and late situations." So yes, I say there's a far greater chance Melo saves you than Adam Morrison. .

See, there's a difference between being able the shoot 3s and having range.

This is just a laughable argument. "Having range" = Good ability to shoot the ball from "far away." "Far away" = 3 Point line. Thus, "Having Range" = "Ability to Shoot 3's."

But, perhaps Scoop is insinuating something else here. Please don't tell me Adam Morrison can shoot the three. Please, please, please do not try and say this.

Bird had range, Mullin had range, Miller (aka: Reggie) had range. The second any one of them stepped across halfcourt ... Yung Joc, it was goin' down.

Sure they had range. And you know there's this Adam Morrison guy. And he can't shoot threes. Oh, I know you wouldn't say that.

This team is void of long-range specialists.

Try "devoid." I hear that there's this thing you can do after writing articles. It's called "editing." Try it some time. It saves you from writing idiotic, meaningless sentences like the one above.

And when you are going up against teams that specialize in dropping bombs from beyond the 3-point line you have to counter their attack with something ... or someone.

Ah, I have faith. You wouldn't say Adam Morrison was that someone. This is obviously just an intro to Gilbert Arenas... or Bruce Bowen, right?

Adam Morrison was that someone. Even though he didn't have any international or NBA experience, he was 6-foot-8 with range. Silly range. Scorer's-table range. Oscar Schmidt range.

Oh... My... God. You think Adam Morrison has the same range as Larry Legend, Chris Mullin, and Miller aka Reggie????? What have you gone and done, Scoop? Adam Morrison. Reggie Miller. I think I'm having a heart attack.

And at some point, scoring two points for every three points that Spain, Greece, France, Turkey or Dirk is scoring is not going to add up. Oh, my bad, yes it will -- it'll add up to an L.

I'm done commenting. You heard it from the man, ladies and gentlemen! The solution to all of Team USA's problems? Adam Morrison, aka 3 point shooting extraordinare!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Guess what this one's about?

Yep, that's exactly right. Leadership. Just about every article this summer can be categorized as "leadership," "Dwayne Wade", "Pacers suck," or "All of the above." Boring, you say? Nope. Quite the opposite.

Leaders of the Pack. Sports Illustrated. Arash Markazi.

lead·er (n.) 1. One that leads or guides. 2. One who is in charge or in command of others.

I'm very, very impressed that you managed to hold yourself in check and not write
"3. Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, or Carmelo Anthony."

Oh, Webster, if it was only that simple.

Would you like to try writing a dictionary?

If the definition of a leader could be summed up in a couple sentences, there wouldn't be thousands of books written on the subject

Um. People don't write books about the definition of a leader. They write books on how to become a leader. Big difference. Most everyone agrees on what a leader is. That would be that simple thing you quoted.

and countless seminars where people pony up hundreds of dollars to learn how to become an effective leader in (insert random number) easy steps.

Yep. I just saw a guy "ponying up" yesterday. I believe George Bush just appointed him as the new Secretary of Defense a few hours ago.

Everyone has theories on what it means to be a leader.

Um. Except not...

Vince Lombardi said that "leaders aren't born they are made,"

That would be a theory on how leaders are made not what they are. See the difference?

Napoleon Bonaparte said a "leader is a dealer in hope,"

You're quoting a French guy. Great way to make a strong argument.

while Groucho Marx said, "only one man in a thousand is a leader of men -- the other 999 follow women."

I'm pretty sure this is what they call a "joke." As in, it's not an actual theory. Actual, meaning a "real." In simple terms, this is commonly referred to as "humor." Novel, isn't it?

While it is one of the most powerful titles that can ever be bestowed upon a person,

One of the most powerful titles? Are you freakin' kidding me?? I can think up probably 1000 more desirable titles than "leader" off the top of my head.

it is bandied about in sports with the same carelessness as other lofty words such as "dynasty," "legend" and "immortal."

That's because leaders are far more common to come across than "legends" or "immortals." If you think about it, almost every team in every sport has a team leader, so to speak. Even the bad ones have them. Atlanta- Joe Johnson, GS- Jason Richardson, Houston- TMac, New York-... well, I did say "almost." Legends are "legendary" because they are rare. Hard to come across. Once a decade maybe. Comprendez-vous?

How many times have we heard reporters and fans alike ask, "Who's the leader on this team." Here's a hint, if you have to ask, there isn't one.

I seriously doubt I've ever heard anyone ask that. (Except of the Knicks.)

The leadership question was brought up several times during Team USA's training in Las Vegas last month. With so many all-stars and "leaders" on one team, how could you pick just one? Well, Mike Krzyzewski went the easy route on Thursday and picked three, and it was the best decision he's had to make since becoming the head coach of the national team.

So basically, he had 3 candidates to choose one from... and he decided to choose all three?? And this makes him a good coach? Fantastic analysis, one must admit.

In Sin City, it was quickly evident that the team gravitated toward LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony (who were later named co-captains while practicing in Sapporo, Japan). I mentioned as much in this spot

Gee, thanks for the inside dish... on who the team captains for the USA world team are. I was just dying to know.

more than two weeks ago when Kryzewski told me that, "The guys look up to LeBron, Dwyane and Carmelo. They are three established guys in the league and those are the three initially that set the tone because they've worked hard everyday."

This is decidedly ironic, especially once one completes reading the next sentence (pay attention to the Chris Paul part).

Players would hang out in James' room and play cards, booray to be exact, pick Wade's brain about winning the championship a few months ago and listen to Anthony tell jokes and rib other players, especially Chris Paul, who carried 'Melo's bags to and from practice.

Yep, 'Melo's worked hard every day. Chris Paul? What's he done? Carry some dude's bags around?

While the trio are the undisputed leaders on their respective teams (with all due respect to Shaquille O'Neal),

Of which, two out of the three teams are at best average...

no three superstars were meant to handle the role of tri-captains better than the stars of the Class of 2003.

Want to explain?

Not only does the threesome get along better than most teammates -- never showing any animosity towards each other despite their competitive nature -- but they embody what it takes to be a leader in today's game, which isn't always easy to do.

Oh! That's what it is! They're such spectacular leaders because they get along better!!! How did you figure it out? Oh, and what's that? They embody what it takes to be a leader??? I haven't read such brilliant ideas in, well, ever! Hey, aspiring youngsters! Make sure you don't show any animosity, and you could be a USA team captain too!

Being a team leader in the current sports climate is a tricky position. It's a far cry from the simplistic popularity scale we all experienced back in high school.

This comparison deserves no comments.

No one in school ever followed the smartest student who aced every test and spent most of his time cooped up in his room dissecting the Pythagorean Theorem.

Thanks for showing all your readers your amazing math skills! Pythagorean Theorem? What's that? Sounds so complicated, though!

Who the HELL dissects the Pythagorean Theorem?!??!?! What would such an activity even mean? Dissect the Pythagorean Theorem?!!? This is way, way, way too good.

Sure we could have all gained something from hanging out at his house and playing Dungeons and Dragons for fun after making flash cards for next month's test, but who wants to do that?

No thanks, dude. I'd rather dissect some more theorems.

Most of us followed the fun-loving dude throwing the kegger at his house after the game on Friday night.

Hmm, that would definitely help to explain your severe lack of brain cells.

A great leader in today's game is an equal balance of Dungeons and Dragons and Dewar's and Drambuie.

Playing Dungeons and Dragons... means you're smart?

Not only does he have to be the smartest guy in school, but he also has to be the guy throwing the best parties, making sure everyone is getting along and having a good time. You see, the key isn't just how good you are at what you do, but how good you make other people feel while you do what you do. That's what makes James, Wade and Anthony great leaders.

Read: James, Wade and Anthony dissect the Pythagorean Theorum, play dungeons and dragons, make flash cards, and throw the best parties... all at the same time!

They not only excel on the court, but they will be the first to pick up their teammates when they are down, talk to them after practice and buy them a round at the club that night.

And they play basketball?!? Pinch me.

If Team USA wins the gold, with the Class of '03 trio leading the way, it will be interesting to see how the team reacts to the addition of Kobe Bryant when he returns to the squad following the World Championships after he recuperates from his knee surgery. Would Bryant be content to take a back seat to three younger players and not be the unquestioned leader?

Of course! I mean the guy didn't even complete college! How can you expect him to even know what the Pythagorean Theorem even is!

Bryant is very much like the kid with straight A's who never learned how to interact with the other students.

Leading the league in scoring = getting straight A's and not interacting... I don't see the connection. At all.

While he may be the most physically gifted player in the game,

You mean most talented, right?

there is little doubt that he's also one of the most enigmatic.

And what, pray tell, does this have to do with your article?

That potential drama, however, will have to wait for another day as Team USA prepares for the start of the World Championships this weekend in Japan where they will be lead by Anthony, James and Wade, three players whose leadership qualities on the court and off the court might just might make for the right mix to bring back the team's first gold medal of any kind in six years.

And immediately after the awards ceremony, join these three leaders for their press conference where they will be announcing their discovery of "The Pythagorean Theorem: Part 2"! Free flash cards will be distributed.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Let's all collectively bash the Pacers

A nearly two week long drought of articles, both stupid and not so stupid, has finally been ended by- who else?- Dave D'Alessandro.

(On a completely unrelated note, his bio picture looks like he's a pirate, for some reason. A hobo pirate who hasn't shaved in a week. Doesn't TSN give advanced notice about picture days, or something like that? I mean, this is just a terrible bio picture. Unless, he looks like this all the time. I wouldn't be surprised.)

And just to make sure that his compadre at TSN, Sean Deveny, has his original point drilled into reader's heads, Pirate-Man has written literally the exact same article that Deveny did two weeks ago! Let's go! Here's "Why the Pacers Suck!" Part Two!

Pacers' moves could make them chum in the water. TSN. Dave D'Alessandro.

"Chum in the water?" That sounds like a patented pirate saying to me.

In the TV business, critics use the term "jumped the shark" to denote the point at which a series has passed its peak. No clue what the shark reference means, but I'll assume it's something hip.

Well, see "jump the shark" is a modern pirate saying. It's a phrase that's only been recently developed and brought into use. Only the modern, and really "hip" pirates use this phrase. Shame on you. You call yourself a pirate?

By the way, it took me exactly 5 seconds to look up what "jump the shark" really means. Try it, Pirate-Man. There's this site called "www.Google.com." It was created just for ignorant pirates such as yourself.

Anyway, in the case of the Pacers, they're in danger of jumping out of the playoff pool and landing in the shark's mouth.

More high-sea allusions. Let's see if you can fish out some more. Ha. Ha.

You can't say they have dead-ended (yet) because at least they recognized the need for a makeover.

They did? Does adding an inexperienced swingman (Marquis Daniels) really qualify them for make-over status? I wonder what you would have called the Heat's moves last summer.

They have added eight new faces

Yes, half of them through the draft. By your definition, every team in the league has had a make-over this summer.

and have one big move left (they hope) in the form of acquiring Al Harrington.


Yet somehow, they seemed to have lost their way, pingponging from good move to bad move with the outcome still to be determined.

Would you mind telling us what exactly these moves are instead of merely calling them "good" and "bad?"

OK, full disclosure: This is the drip-drip-drip phase of the offseason,

Man, quit with the water imagery already. We’ve already established that you’re a pirate.

when GMs go on vacation and writers wish they could do the same,

I'm pretty sure your readers want you to go on vacation too.

instead of choosing a team and giving it the Colbertian Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger treatment.

Except there’s this thing. It’s called a job. And you have to do… work. Amazing, I know. And “Colbertian Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger?” Oh, brother.

But in the case of Indy, it's irresistible.

So you're saying that it's worth sitting at home all summer so long as you can insult the Indiana Pacers... Whatever floats your boat, I guess. No pun intended.

Bad move: Maybe Larry Bird still is trying to find his front office game, but the last time he said anything in public was to suggest Rick Carlisle didn't hold players accountable. Nice way to boost your coach's credibility, eh?

I'm not sure how this even qualifies as a "move."

I'm still wondering where Bird was when all this discord played out. If the team prez wants more discipline, he should traipse his legendary butt downstairs and dole some out.

Er, that's the coach's job Dave. Guys with "legendary butts" just aren't suitable for such tasks.

Good move: Not matching the contract offer the Hornets gave Peja Stojakovic was a no-brainer. He's not worth $64 million for five years, and if the trade exception acquired in the deal with New Orleans helps the Pacers get Harrington, they'll have immeasurably improved their frontcourt.

Yeah, and if they don't get Harrington? Doesn't look so good any more, does it? Plus, even though he may not be worth 65 mil over 5, Peja is still one of the top 3 shooters in the game. Harrington, well, let's just say he's not in the top 10 among post players.

Bad move: Dumping backup Anthony Johnson was an act of desperation. Maybe he was too blunt, maybe he grumbled about stupid stuff like Sarunas Jasikevicius' jersey being sold instead of his own in the gift shop, and maybe Jermaine O'Neal hated him. But the Pacers got nothing for a very good combo guard, unless they have designs on making Darrell Armstrong the head coach in two years.

Okay, so you think dumping an aging, slow, sluggish point guard in favor of giving a young, up-temo, up and coming point guard more playing time is an act of desperation? I think you’ve been spending too much time with Felipe Alou (and his outfield). True, Johnson had a great year by any standard, but keep in mind, he’s slow and aging. And slow. And plus, 05-06 was his contract year. I sincerely doubt he’d replicate last season’s performance again. And even if this is the terrible move you say it is, how the !@$#%! does Darrell Armstrong becoming head change anything??

And so on.

What do you mean "and so on"???!! You think you can just name four events (only three of them even "moves"!) and then assume that readers will assume that there are more?!?! This is just the height of bad writing. Why don't we just make up some more random "moves?" "Bad move: Larry Bird had breakfast with Jermaine O'Neal today". Or "Good move: Tinsley got his car washed at Chevron over the weekend." Pirate-Man, you're an idiot.

This team has issues. It has an untenable point guard situation, some bad chemistry guys,

Great job. On top of an already atrocious article, throw in some random "chemistry" junk.

a disconnect with the fan base,

Care to quantify this statement in any way? You know, they do record this thing called home attendance. And publish it. At the very least, couldn’t you have made up some poll that was supposedly on the Pacer website? Or something? Anything?

and 15 guaranteed contracts (three rookies, yikes) -- and is scared to death of becoming a luxury taxpayer.

Okay, answer me this then. Which team isn’t scared to death of becoming a luxury taxpayer? Mhmm, that’s what I thought. Instead, you make it seem like the Indiana Pacer’s GM (Mr. Legend) is some shriveling old miserly man who’s trotting out the national Swedish croquet team on a nightly basis.

There is talent, starting with O'Neal, who by all accounts is doing the right things this summer.

I love this sentence. All the right things? What the Hell does that mean??!! Working out? Dieting? Not doing drugs? Mr. O’Neal, there’s this pirate. And he knows what you’ve been up to this summer.

But none of this makes any sense without Harrington, who dumped his agent last week to expedite his sign-and-trade deal with the Hawks. If he shows, the frontcourt will be formidable and playoff-worthy.

He showed. Can we officially consider your article “pointless” now?

If he doesn't, the Pacers become the poster team for the perils of rebuilding on the fly.

Sorry, but the Knickerbockers of New York have already published many, many posters on this very same topic. I hear they’re even coming out with a 2007-2008 calendar with Renaldo Blackman on the cover.