Who'll wear the biggest target this year?
Got to wondering the other day – in response to a series of questions on the topic – on who bears the most pressure or responsibility for whatever is going to transpire this season with the local Heroes Of The Hardcourt.
And while you know I don’t entirely like to single out one or two guys because it’s truly a team game, I guess I should.
I would say the guy we’re going to find out the most about would be Andrea Bargnani, who will no longer have the security blanket – or Albatross, depending on your view – of Chris Bosh around.
There have been moments when the big kid has looked extremely good and quite comfortable but that’s always been a decided second banana. Teams always game-planned for Bosh first and foremost; that’s not going to happen this year and if Bargnani doesn’t step up his game – at both ends of the floor – this is going to be one hellaciously long season, I fear.
Well, it’s funny. There have always been snippets of, I don’t know, ego might be the right word, in Bargnani’s personality. There’ve been moments when you felt he felt he might be being under-utilized and that he’d relish an increased role. Nothing to outward, just a look, maybe a quick comment, stuff like that.
So maybe he can. He better for their sake because they need him to be very good.
We’ll go over some others as the rest of this week unfolds but I’d put Bargnani as the guy with the biggest target on his back right now.
The Ed Davis news was a bit of a jolt, wasn’t it?
Six weeks takes him to the start of the regular season, you figure it takes at least two weeks for him to get back into game shape after starting “basketball-related activities” so you’re probably looking at him missing about 10 games of the regular season.
What’s it mean on the floor? Well, I’m not sure how much they were counting on Davis to play – they were certainly expecting him to be in the frontcourt rotation – so the big winner out of this maybe Reggie Evans, who could very well assume those minutes.
You might also see more of Linas Kleiza at the four with Bargnani or Amir Johnson at the five and I guess this is why they wanted guys with some positional versatility.
Did my heart proud to see Rick Fox tripping the light fantastic in his DWTS debut; he’s near the lead after a night and I have a feeling he’ll last a good long time.
I also guarantee that if the boys from Oz got wind of it, he’d be, um, dealt with.
Wasn’t that perhaps the darkest hour of television ever?
I remember after one TV season seeing Fox somewhere and telling him how fascinated I was with the show and that it couldn’t possibly get more gruesome.
He looked at me and said something like: “I don’t know. How about a guy getting crucified to the floor of a jail cell?”
Now, that was not an hour of light, mindless TV.
I mentioned last week that the Davis injury was just one of those things, a tough break in a bad situation.
And I know it’s all well and good that he and the other kids are out among the masses scrimmaging and playing games and connecting with the fans. I get that this team needs to make that connection and it’s kinda cool they’d use the social media to do it.
But, really. Maybe games of HORSE, or autograph sessions, or just hanging out.
The players collectively bargained for the “Love Of The Game” clause that’s in the standard players’ contract but I don’t imagine the clause exists to allow them to do things like send out messages to random fans and invite them to come compete against NBAers.
Anyway, tough break for a good kid.
And I will be totally surprised if there are tweets and messages setting up similar games for a very long time.
So NBA coaches are wrapping up a couple of days of meetings in Chicago today. It’s an annual thing, they sit around and do some association work, they hear from the league how things are going to be new and improved all season and that they’ll never have a beef with the officials or league office.
(They then laugh uproariously at that last statement and go off to practice they’re indignation and complaining skills).
But I imagine they also have some time for social pursuits, to perhaps sit around in groups just talking about their teams, the game, life.
And I imagine it might go a bit like this:
Alvin Gentry: “Well, we’ve got a new guy I’m really looking forward to coaching.”
Jay Triano: “Ball.”
Erik Spoelstra: “We’ve got some new guys, too!”
Chorus of 29 voices: “Shut up, kid.”
Phil Jackson: “I’m smarter than all of you.”
Chorus of 29 voices: “You’ve been telling us that for 20 years; we get it.”
Jerry Sloan: “Anyone want to step outside?”
Stan Van Gundy: “I hate Miami.”
Jay Triano, Byron Scott: “Tell us about it, Stan. Look at our rosters! We might not win 60 games between us.”
Avery Johnson: “I hired Sam Mitchell.”
Chorus of 29 voices: “And let the entertainment begin!”
Mail? I’d love some.