Links: NBA Friday

by February 01, 2008

by Lang Whitaker

• Superbowl!!! Bah, humbug. I don’t care about the Patriots and I don’t care about the Giants. Sorry, I sound like Russ. Moving on…

• Last night’s Spurs/Suns game is why I still can’t pick against the Spurs to win a championship. The Spurs were without Tony Parker, playing against a mostly healthy Suns team, and they still managed to keep the Suns from running and gunning them and then at the end they snuck in for the W. And Duncan’s postgame interview with Craig Sager was hilarious, because it was just pure Tim Duncan Robot, as he lifelessly talked about what a big win it was.

• Amare won’t get MVP consideration, but I think he deserves talk as a Most Improved Player candidate. He’s become such a clutch jump shooter, especially on those 15-18 footers, but people still focus on his blocks and dunks.

• All-Star reserves were announced last night, and we were all over it for you. I don’t really have any furious complaints with the teams. I’m sure people in Toronto are upset Calderon didn’t make it, but a guy from the fifth-place team in the Conference who has only started 2/3 of his team’s games is going to have to post some extra-extra-extraordinary numbers, not just 12 and 8.

If there’s anyone who was left off, it’s Baron Davis, who, like Calderon, is averaging 8 assists per game, but Baron is also avering 10 more ppg than Calderon. Plus the Warriors are 28-19 but have no representatives in the game at all?

• Phil Jackson did his latest book giveaway for the Lakers. My favorite assignment is that he gave Jordan Farmar a book called, “Shortcomings,” which is apparently a graphic novel.

• Linkstigator Sekou Smith is picking a fight with the NBA. Sekou better watch out — Brian McIntyre might show up outside his house with a horse’s head.

• I know we’re in an age of incredible technology, but I’ll only admit that real advances have been made when it’s time for the annual NBA League Pass free preview week and I can watch games without that stupid scroll coming across the bottom of my screen every 5 minutes. Hey, I already subscribe, I already know how great League Pass is. And if you must put the scroll on the screen, do you have to cover up the score, like the scroll did throughout the Hawks/Blazers game the other night?

• And as we do every Friday, it’s time for NBA Friday with the official illustrator of The Links, Joel Kimmel. Each Friday Joel draws something special for you kids, and this week is no different. This week’s team is the Atlanta Hawks, and this week’s illustration is of Josh Smith.

“I basically flipped a coin to decide whether I would paint him or Joe Johnson,” says Joel. “I really like painting birds, so I knew I wanted to incorporate some hawks. I decided to approach the piece with the inspiration of an old John James Audubon painting. Audubon is famous for his paintings and catalog of birds that he published in the 1830’s, Birds of America.

“I gave the paper an aged look and then went to work on placing Josh Smith in a landscape with some hawks and the Atlanta skyline in the background. I added some of Josh’s info on the bottom of the piece, much like Audubon would have done to catalog birds.”

Amazing job, Joel. And for next week, Joel has something special up his sleeve…

“I don’t have a team planned for next week’s NBA Friday but I do have a special dunk that I thought of once that I’d like to paint in a step-by-step, “how-to” type illustration. I guess it’s my All Star Edition NBA Friday, and maybe Rudy Gay will stumble on it and use it in the dunk contest. I’ve never seen it performed before, and I thought it would be cool to illustrate how it could be done (if it’s actually possible).”

Hey, I’ll do you one better: You draw the dunk and I’ll make sure Rudy Gay sees it. Cool?

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend everyone and see you all next week…