Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dwayne Wade ain't got nothin on Martin Riggs

Good morning. Today current events returns with issues about Dwayne Wade's shoulder, an early 2006-2007 rookie review, my pick for the league's ugliest player and my personal favorite: "Who's the worst scorer in the NBA?". Oh my.

As if it could get any better, it's time for another birthday quiz. Anyone who can correctly determine the identity of the following birthday boys wins the respect and admiration of Don't Ever Give Up: The Basketball Blog.

I helped deliver the mail.

Thank god my expectations weren't as high as my brother!

I scored more than 18,000 points.

I scored less than 18,000 points.

"Shut your mouth!"
"But I'm just talkin bout shaft..."
"Then we can dig it!"

I'm one of the greatest Hoosiers in history, and so is my twin brother.

Hey, Christofi! Yeah, you, you motherfucking pussy! C'mere!

I'm a modern-day John Wallace.

I'm one of the greatest Hoosiers in history, and so is my twin brother.

Answers tomorrow if anybody guesses.

Let's get started. Last night, Dwayne Wade went down doing something that Martin Riggs proved is not that bad; dislocating his shoulder. You can see the injury here. Perhaps by coincidence, the the injury happened against the team that I think is going to do big things, the Houston Rockets. Now, injuries are freak things and even the toughest players get them, but, that being said, I think this is a pretty good indication that the Rockets are playing a physical brand of ball. I mean, they made Dwayne Wade cry and sent him away on a wheelchair, even though they didn't take away legs. That's pretty rough. (I love the look on Gary Payton's face on the right. He's like, "Why are we both helping this guy walk if his shoulder's hurt? I'll just kind of hold it. Is that gay?")

Another interesting part of last night's game was that Rafer had his way with Mr. Payton and Jason Williams (a combined 7 points between them to Rafer's 20) and the team seems primed for Yao's return. It's rumored (as you can see on the Dwayne Wade injury page linked to above) that Mike James may come [back] to Houston in a trade, which would allow Houston to play a neat small lineup with James and Alston in the backcourt and McGrady, Battier, and Head in the frontcourt. It would nicely compliment a big lineup that will be available to the Rockets when Yao comes back, with Rafter, McGrady, Howard/Battier, Mutombo and Yao on the court together. There's something appealing about a point guard surrounded by four 6'8" and above guys, three of whom are possible hall of famers. I can almost guarantee that against a team like San Antonio you could isolate a skilled player against a pud like Fabricio Oberto or Francisco Elson (probably the two front-court players with the wussiest names in the NBA).

I'm kind of surprised Wade took the injury so badly. I don't really know what to make of it and a part of me worries that it will affect his confidence (i.e., his ability to drive to the hoop on the edge of recklessness) in the future. I know this is a stupid argument in principle but remember, there was a time when Vince Carter drove to the hoop with that same reckless abandon (almost as if he was getting paid for it). Watch this video and tell me you don't see eery similarities to the way Wade plays. [For the record, I realize that Dwayne Wade is very different from Vince Carter {he is twice the passer Vince is/was}. I do think that Vince Carter, age 23, could have achieved the same level of success as Wade had he been on the Heat last year. Yeah, I said it.]

I wonder if this will make Pat Riley quit for another two months...

Anyway, since I did manage to catch the rookie game this weekend, I wanted to weigh in with a quick mid-season rookie review. I don't know why [fantasy basketball?], but I always lose track of rookies around this time of year, so if you are like me, this should be a nice little refresher.

Brandon Roy, despite his injury problems, is clearly the man. He is a skilled scorer and works efficiently. He is shooting 45%, 33% from long-range, and getting to the line almost five times a game, making 83% of his free throws. He averages 15.8 points a game, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists, along with 1.2 steals. Two nights ago, he dropped 27 points and 7 assists on the Jazz, and led his team to a three-point victory. The only thing I don't like about Roy is the team he plays on, which is all screwed up and needs a lot of things to happen before they can be effective.

Adam Morrison, who bears an uncanny resemblance to yours truly, is the other high-scoring rookie (13.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 38% fg). He reminds me of a much worse version of Glenn Robinson; all he's good for is scoring, and he's not a great athlete. The thing is, he's a mediocre scorer and a worse athlete than Robinson. I'll have to see some really crazy stuff to make me believe Morrison is worth a thing. Plus, he went to some joke school out in Washington that produces nothing but NBA busts [with one extremely notable exception]. Oh, and he can't defend. I will give Adam Morrison credit for one thing; when he plays well and scores points, his team seems to win more often than they otherwise do. But he's not that good, and he doesn't play well that often. This, in my mind, is a bad sign.

Andrea Bargnani, the number one pick, has been playing a lot more lately and scoring a lot more. He is starting to look like a more efficient, less chuckster version of Adam Morrison. The jury is out on him for me because he's about as athletic as a slug, but he's in a position where he can come along slowly, and has the kind of body that gives him the potential to be a real threat in the post. If that happens, he could be legit.

Rudy Gay is looking like he has pretty good potential as well. He's only playing about 20 minutes a game, so his averages (9.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.0 spg, .9 bpg) are not that impressive. What is impressive is how he has been playing lately; he has been getting more minutes than usual and in his last six games, Gay has scored 12, 19, 14, 18, 31, and 19. He has only shot under 50% once in that string, is rebounding at about five per game, and playing good defense (at least statistically). I like Rudy Gay because he is a finesse player who was able to succeed in a really tough conference when he was in college [The Big Fucking East]. I think that bodes well for his future in the NBA, and since his team is terrible, he should have a good chance to get out there and see what he can do. I think for some guys, this can be bad for their games (like Bargnani) but for a true athlete like Gay, I think it's just a chance to polish his moves, without a ton of pressure to carry the team. He could be a good one.

My favorite rookie is [i believe] the only heterosexual Englishman ever to play in the NBA, Kelenna Azubuike. He is the first guy to get called up from the D-League, and he is representing himself extremely well. He is a hired gun, and he is excellent at what he does. He's averaging just under ten points a game on a team filled with shooters, and he's stuck playing sporadic minutes. Jason Richardson came back last night, so I think that in the long term, Azabuike will have to catch on somewhere else; I don't see him getting minutes over Richardson, Jackson, and Ellis. (His stats: 10.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, 46% fg, 52% 3pt [!])

Randy Foye looks like a keeper in Minnesota, but he also still looks like he's a year away. The faster they get Mike James out of there, the faster he will get better, and he's in a great situation because Kevin Garnett takes a lot of the load off of him, in terms of scoring and handling the offense in general. It's like the situation John Stockton had with Karl Malone; a lot of the time, he can just get the ball into the post and not worry about having to drive and dish or set up plays until he wants to. The more discretion a point guard has in decision-making, the faster they learn and the better they play, in my opinion. It certainly worked for Stephon.

Jorge Garbajosa scores some points because he starts, so I guess I should mention him. The thing is, he's inefficient, ugly, and I don't like him. Therefore he will not be a good player. He could also use one of those fancy shortened Euro nicknames so people stop having to say Garbajosa. Gaba or something.

Marcus Williams is not shooting the ball well as a rookie, but did he ever? He still looks like a legit point guard, and there have been many effective point guards who are not great shooters. He's riding the bench and I think this might give him more time to catch up on his fundamentals. Being benched early on and learning to shoot has helped some point guards (Baron Davis) and hurt others (Sebastian Telfair). I'm not sure how this will play out.

LaMarcus Aldridge might be good, I guess, but I'm not sure if he has a place on the Blazers unless someone gets moved. I'm just not emotional about this guy. Can he be any better than Chris Wilcox and the like? I don't think so.

There are always those guys out there who don't get a lot of burn or have some glaring fundamental problems that will nevertheless become keepers. Jermaine O'Neal was like this for a couple years on Portland, as was Tracy McGrady on Toronto, and a lot of less-prestigious guys like Kurt Thomas, Anthony Mason, Ben Wallace, John Starks, Jeff Hornacek etc. have followed this route. Some guys that I think will be keepers but aren't ready yet are: Paul Millsap, Craig Smith, and Alexander Johnson, all three of whom hustle their asses off. Alexander Johnson is a monster of an athlete, and looks like he might be the strongest man in the NBA some day. Each one is shooting over 52%. Here is a little video of Johnson that showcases his athletic ability. He's like a bigger, stronger version of Maurice Evans.

Rajon Rondo is the last rookie that I think will be legit. He is playing some minutes and has been doing everything but scoring, coming close to triple-doubles almost routinely. I don't know if I'd call him the next Jason Kidd, but he is quite a rebounder for his size, proficient at distribution, able to run, and able to score (sometimes). He should get some playing time as the Celtics continue to suck, and I think he might emerge as their point guard of the future. If that happens, it will further cement Danny Ainge as the best-drafting, worst-transactions GM of all time (because he drafted Rondo and traded for Telfair in the same year). Speaking of that, why does this guy still have a job? He took a good team and made them consistently worse each year. I like Boston, but I have to say, if Danny Ainge was named Darius Ainge, I think he'd be pretty far down the I-90 by now.

NBA Worsts

A new feature here at Don't Give Up: The Basketball Blog, we're beginning the way 24 does, with a double-primetime showing. That's right, in just one day, you, my faithful readers, can be privy to my picks for the NBA's worst scorer and the NBA's ugliest player.

So, who is the worst player scoere in the NBA? By the numbers, it's Trenton Hassell, but for my money, I think Fabricio Oberto is just a worthless scorer. If he played the whole game, every game, he'd average a turd-peeling 12 points per game.

He actually started the year with promise, once even scoring 22 in a game. He shot an impressive 65% and seemed to be getting a lot of gimmes when Duncan was double-teamed. At some point, coaches were like, "We know Fabricio sucks, but apparently he doesn't suck so much that he can't hit open layups. Let's defend him." After that, Oberto's shooting tumbled to 47%, and he started letting loose some stinky, stink lines. For instance, from November 27 through December 27, he played 280 minutes in 15 games. That is just under 20 minutes per game. In those 280 minutes, he scored 59 points. 59 points! That's 59 points in about six games worth of action. He is a terrible scorer and a terrible player. Send him back to Europe.

To showcase the league's ugliest player, I will line him up next to his namesake. First:

Zha Zha Gabor

Now compare that with:

Zaza Pachulia

Yikes! That's all, folks. As always, e-mail me at


Jayinee said...

kudos on the rookie analysis...particularly liked the bargnani-morrison parts

Jayinee said...

oh and interesting stats on fabricio although i can't subscribe to that as easily as you have...perhaps that's just my spurs fanship speaking

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