Sounding Off with San Dova: SOSD2 Electric Boogaloo
Evel KAHN-evel, Triple-Double LBJ, and the trouble with Spanish Trail Blazers.
Sometimes, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on some happenings that have occurred in the world of the NBA, but many times, I don’t have the conviction to write 700 words on every singular subject of interest — but I may have a bunch of short bits to communicate en masse, on occasion. And so I’ll be Sounding Off on occasion. Holler.
I’m not exactly sure what Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn is planning, but duplicating point guards over and over again looks just like another strategy to tell Spanish point guard/Timberwolves draftee Ricky Rubio, “We don’t want you.” I mean, obviously, Minnesota wants him, but I don’t think signing Luke Ridnour to a lucrative deal (relative to Ridnour) is a great move to inspire Young Rub to come over. It’s silly. They’ve signed another point guard, who probably will struggle in the triple post offense? That’s a real head-shaker. Just like running the triangle offense with no Los Angeles Lakers on the team. That’s really wise. And by the way, they did add a few more small forwards, too. Not like the T-wolves are in need there. The sad thing about this is that I like Luke, but if it ultimately costs the team Rubio, Kahn is going to have a lot of unhappy season ticket holders to grovel to.
I’m convinced that LeBron James is going to make people eat their words next season. He’s probably going to average a real-life, unadjusted triple double for the year just to show his disdain for the talk. All this backlash, and now Magic Johnson is opining unfavorably about LBJ’s move to the Miami Heat? He had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar! He had James Worthy! Byron Scott could have been an alpha dog on his own team, but played fourth fiddle with Magic in the backcourt! Of course, he wouldn’t care about joining Larry Bird! He had a Hall of Fame starting lineup. I don’t understand this. LeBron never really had a rival player, he had rival teams, and that’s only been generated within the past two years, if you don’t count the Washington Wizards foray into WWE territory with the Cavs in 2006, ’07, ’08 and ’09. It’s one thing for Michael Jordan to say it — he had lesser team talent than Magic did when he won his championships and Air Jordan was more stubborn than Magic – but for No. 32 to come with that stuff…it’s shortsighted and a little ignorant on his part. I’m not saying that the greatest point guard of all-time shouldn’t be able to voice his opinion, but I expected a little more context and reflection on his part, but after all…it is Magic. (Make whatever of that as you choose.)
Dwight Jaynes said it best, but I want to expound on this…Rudy Fernandez has been done a disservice to some extent by the Portland Trail Blazers. They trumped him up with promises, he’s shown he can play and be electric on the court, and so what do they do? They keep him on the bench. Instead of just making Brandon Roy as the point guard (like he keeps nudging to people and passive-aggressively implying through the media), the Blazers and coach Nate McMillan insisted on “developing” Rudy, even though he was a greater asset as a feature player in the lineup as a starting wing. It’s their fault that he doesn’t want to be there, and though he’s been injured in the past year, he still was the most talented wingman other than Roy…maybe better, actually. Paired in the backcourt, they could both play either guard position with ease, and Fernandez has been known to be a devastating force as a shooter, playmaker and penetrator…now he wants to go, and he’s become unsatisfied with the player pole of favorites in Portland. I hope he goes and stays in the league somehow. I’ve been saying this periodically since I’ve been writing for SLAM — Brandon Roy is great, but even though he’s the apple of the Blazers’ eye, he’s got a finite shelf life, he’s not durable, and juggling around the fact that he wants to play point guard causes tension with the other guards on the team — and it’s hurt Rudy’s play in the process, because of that very favoritism toward B. Roy. Portland has struck out here, and it’s their fault. I blame Coach McMillan for this squarely, because the tough love wasn’t really necessary for Rudy. He should have just played Rudy when he came from Spain.
(Portland could have tried a little harder with the development of Sergio Rodriguez, too, if you ask me.)
As I said previously, Shaq has burned his bridges, and it occurred to me–after veteran comedian/actor Gary Owen (he’s hilarious) Tweeted that Shaq has more former teams than championship rings – that Mr. O’Neal has really shamed himself. I don’t really mind that he’s a Boston Celtic in and of itself, but I do feel bad that Shaq lacked the humility and wisdom to maintain the relationships he’s needed to be remain “legendary” and be more graceful in the present time. Of course, all stars fade, and some things/people that we really thought were stars end up not being stars at all (ask Ric Bucher and/or Marvel Comics about “quasars”)…but Shaquille O’Neal should not have had to continue on like he has, and it’s shameful. For all of his hubris and pontifications, he now is a virtual liability and only is a theoretical help to a championship-level team; what’s worse is that he’ll still insist somehow on being a focal point of some degree, because his previous Hall of Fame-worthy years in the league almost insist that that specific personal entitlement be requested or implied in some fashion. I’ve never been a Shaq hater, and I’ve enjoyed him when he’s been in his great, rare form (mainly 1992-97, 99-00), but it’s hard to see him throw all these assorted colors on in the past 2-1/2 years. Frankly, it sucks like it sucks to have seen Allen Iverson wear a quadruplet of jerseys in the past two seasons. I guess it comes down to me talking about legacy, and for a man so proud to have been preaching about the majesty of his “most dominant ever” kingdom, “The Diesel” looks more and more like he’s getting humbled to the level of one of Joseph’s eleven brothers. Before, I used to think about Shaq glowingly with his Mattel Shaq Attaq toys, cool Reebok shoes, and his athleticism and passing on the low block; now what repeatedly comes to mind is a slow, tired king of former glory wearing a slew of athletic garb that seem to mock his formerly various distinguished empires in the league.
I guess pride, indeed, comes before the fall.
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist and fitness enthusiast, as well as an unyielding Prince fan (for real). You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook, Associated Content and Twitter.