A little help for our friends the coaches
Slow day yesterday, optional practice with no media so we had a day of rest and recuperation, too. A day that was very welcome, as a matter of fact.
So with not much going on with the heroes of the hardcourt, let’s turn our attention to something important, like who will be in Phoenix next month when I’m not:
Big day for NBA coaches.
They’ve got until 3 p.m. to submit their votes for the all-star reserves, a group that’ll be announced Thursday night. It’s been my experience that the majority of the coaches take the job quite seriously, consulting with assistants and the like; some do it quickly and right off the cuff.
I’d hope those ones are reading this because here’s all the help they need. Remember, they have to take two guards, two forwards, a centre and two others and they don’t have to pay any attention to what position a player was listed at on the ballot. The can slide anyone to any spot he’s ever played if it’ll help create a team that can win:
If you take Devin Harris, can you take Vince Carter?
If you take Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, is there room for Mo Williams? And is Williams an all-star or just a product of being a teammate of LeBron’s?
Can you have all of Boston’s Big Three when they’ve only got the second-best record in the conference?
How about Hedo Turkoglu, does he get there this year?
Does Joe Johnson go again?
Where does David Lee fit, or does he?
Well, after careful consideration, almost minutes, here’s what I’ve come up with:
Guards Jameer Nelson and Joe Johnson
Forwards Danny Granger and Paul Pierce
Centre Chris Bosh
The Other Two: Devin Harris and Mo Williams.
That snubs the likes of Hedo and Vince and Lee but someone’s going to get snubbed.
Interesting dilemmas and almost as many questions. Like:
Does Steve Nash still have enough juice, or game, to be an all-star in that guard-laden conference?
How about them Jazz? Boozers’ hurt, Williams was, is Milsap an all-star? Has Al Jefferson done enough in Minnesota?
Can Shaq be a second hometown Sun?
What about Portland? They should get someone, right? Houston, too, besides Yao?
Again, I don’t pretend to know exactly how the coaches might think, but this is how I think:
Guards Chauncey Billups and Tony Parker.
Forwards Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki.
Centre Shaquille O’Neal.
The Other Two: Brandon Roy and Al Jefferson.
Sure, Carmelo gets snubbed, I’m certain Nash wouldn’t mind having the day off and there’s no Utah representation.
|TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO|
|You can almost hear the birthday boos right now.|
Do we bring cake? Balloons? A card?
Seems You Know Who turned 32 on Monday – 32?!?!? – and there were hijinks and hilarity all around the Nets.
Keyon Dooling probably got off the best line, courtesy of the legendary Mr. D’Alesandro:
“He started his career with the Raptors, now he’s technically a dinosaur.”
Seriously, 32? Kid grew up right before our eyes.
Speaking of the Nets, they lost in Oklahoma City last night – wonder if the fans in Jersey were as crazed as the ones in Toronto were in the same circumstances – and here’s the reportage on that one.
A dip into the mail:
Q: A couple of comments and questions. I was at the game (Sunday) and you missed the shot of the day as you went for some "fresh air" during the half. They had a bunch of "urchins" playing, and with the clock running down, one of the players who couldn't have been more then 4 feet tall, grabbed the ball, stepped back beyond the NBA 3 point line, and drained a buzzer beater! WOW! Ask Herbie, he was as impressed as the rest of us!
A game related question. I noticed that Calderon was doing an excessive amount of stretching and non traditional warm up exercises during free throws, time outs, and any other stoppage in play. Is he doing preventative work, or is there still concern because he may not be 100% yet?
Finally, Jawai's home debut may not have been statistically memorable, but the crowd did a nice job appreciating him, and Ukic did the right thing feeding him the ball in the post to attempt a basket. The crowd really wanted to see him get a basket, and that was good to see.
Peter L, Toronto
A: I heard about the kid’s step-back jumper, apparently quite impressive.
The Jose stuff? It’s preventative maintenance, making sure the hamstring stays loose and stretched out. He’s doing things like slide drills along the baseline during timeouts just to make sure nothing tightens up.
And the fans do love Jawai and why not? Good kid, works hard, been through a tough time and is a good story.
Have been relatively over-run by Jamario Moon mail since last Monday in Atlanta and it’s continued unabated.
But here’s the thing: Obviously, they’re not taking my advice and giving Joey a 20-game run as a starter (but Joey’s 22-4-0 run as a starter was hardly confidence-inducing) so why not use Jamario just as they have.
Five or six minutes at the start of the game, another couple in the second quarter and five or six to start the second half and, generally, a seat behind Joey or Kapono down the stretch.
Jay’s obviously of the school of thought that “it’s not who starts, it’s who finishes” and since it’s clear that no one is going to jump up and make that spot theirs for 35 minutes a night, balancing as he has been seems to be working.
Okay, so I didn’t see any NBA basketball, practice or otherwise yesterday, but it wasn’t an entirely hoops-free day.
Super Son’s Hawthorn Hawks opened their season with a nail-biter of a 32-31 home win over the dastardly Tecumsehs.
Since they’ve got a four-game regular season, I believe they’ve clinched a playoff berth already.
And, finally, a moody question:
Q: How much would you say a players personal life affects his game play I.E. Argument with the wife, Superdog gets sick etc. etc. ?
Mary L, Ajax
A: Ah, probably less than you’d think. Pro athletes are wired a bit differently that you and I and once a game gets going, those competitive juices tend to block out a lot of distractions.
Practices might be a different story. If they’re simply cranky or something’s going on outside of basketball, it has an impact.