Etc, Etc: What’s Going Down In New Jersey?
NBA Sound-off with San Dova.
by Sandy Dover / @San_Dova
Sometimes, I have a full spread of opinions and conjectures on various happenings that have occurred inside the world of the NBA, but many times, I don’t have the conviction to compose a long-form essay on every singular subject of interest—enter “Etc, Etc (NBA Sound-Off with San Dova)”—a remedy of collected shorter bits that communicates a whole of varying thoughts on the occurrences concerning the League and its players.
The Boston Celtics are really going down, and it’s understandable why Danny Ainge is concerned. Boston’s gotten most of what they can of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, particularly. It’s tempting to say that they’ll retire as Celtics, but I see it differently. Expect KG to be a Chicago Bull, or Los Angeles Clipper or Laker. With claims to home in both cities, I see those teams to be perfect for the former “Manchild,” as he’d be able to play in limited minutes, while preserving some semblance of health and contribute heavily as a defender and scorer as a sixth man or center (amazing that he was a three-point-shooting small forward as recently as 2001).
The Dallas Mavericks are poised for another Championship, I believe it. They’re just now getting fully healthy and forming a new chemistry. Dirk Nowitzki is getting stronger, and Vince Carter is doing way more than I thought he would; he’s actually contributing very solid minutes from the bench and I’m not thinking of his wasted potential as a once-potential Hall of Fame player, and instead am seeing someone who’s really similar to today’s LeBron James—a guy who was extraordinarily talented who favored contributing to a great team vs being a great player leading the team in those more typical statistics. Even Brendan Wright is playing to his potential. Credit goes to Coach Rick Carlisle for being flexible enough to try new players and rotations… even more credit goes to Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson for empowering the coaching staff.
Does anyone really know what’s going down in New Jersey? I don’t have a lot of faith in the Nets when it comes to assembling a powerhouse with Deron Williams and Dwight Howard… not because it wouldn’t be a good thing, but because there are better winning situations for both players. Williams and his family enjoy the New York area (and if you don’t believe me, Google the Twitter account of his wife for her giddy enthusiasm about “the life”), but he doesn’t take losing well, and Howard’s most vocal point about leaving has been based on his lack of Championship prospects with the Magic. Unless something else changes, I have my doubts. Would a competitive team down the street from the New York Knicks be great for the League? Surely, but Williams is going to try to lock up in a situation that benefits his winning potential, as will Howard. And remember, even if they pair up, a fairly good team still doesn’t beat LeBron James and the Miami Heat, and Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. Expect a trade… for Williams, if the Nets can’t get any firm words from Howard’s camp. It’s all on Mr. Howard for clarity.
Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon are a great example of combo guards who are probably best utilized by elite teams. I say that because of a few reasons. One reason is that smart, winning teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, etc. know how to make combo guards into relevant producers on the court; as we’ve seen most recently with Dallas, pairing a combo guard with a player who is truly a point guard or shooting guard helps to inform the combo guard of what to do on the court.
With JJ Barea in Dallas in 2011, he was a distributor and scorer depending on whether Jason Terry or Jason Kidd was playing with him; in San Antonio, former Spur George Hill was also informed similarly to Barea, depending upon whether he was playing with Tony Parker, or whether he was taking Parker’s place; in Miami, Dwyane Wade had long done the same as said guards. In Detroit, even though Stuckey and Gordon have an standard size to match-up with any kind of NBA starting backcourt, because neither is a true player of either guard position, not knowing when to distribute or score in the offense likely creates a kind of confusion and duplication of duties on the court. In the Pistons’ case, Stuckey probably needs to start at off-guard next to Brandon Knight more permanently, and move to point guard when Gordon comes in for minutes. It would create an easier understanding of duties and help Detroit to be more efficient as a team.
Sandy Dover is a published author, fitness & media consultant, and a SLAM web columnist & print contributor whose work has been featured and published by US News, Yahoo!, Robert Atwan’s “America Now” and ESPN. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline and via his website at About.Me/SandyDover.