Take It To The Rim ……………………
OK so here we are and the feeling is now known that the ‘NBA’ has some work to do with regard to its image . What with the idiocy shown Wizards’ guard Gilbert Arenas and the fact that the US Justice Department has in principle agreed to a plea agreement between Arenas and the DA’s office. With Arenas said to be facing a ‘minimum of 5 years jail time’. It is being reported that the player will serve ‘no jail time’, whatsoever . However, more likely than not, Arenas might well be placed on probation. That’ll be at the federal judge’s discretion in the end. And with the player having had a prior weapon’s charge against still to be dealt with , it can be argued that jail time just might be the best and only option possible. His indefinite suspension from the NBA is unlikely to be rescinded. Nor should it be ! The idiots out there , giving credence to the player’s actions ought to think long and hard about this all and the fact that the Washington D.C area has amongst the highest homicide rates as well as gun crime rates in the nation. Arenas, himself, has stated that he was unaware as to the strictness of the gun laws in the nation’s capitol. How much of a ‘fu_king as_hole’ is Gilbert Arenas to begin with ?
With all of that in motion, David Stern apart from the indefinite suspension of Arenas now has to deal the falling attendance for games and the financial ravage that’s now being brought about because of the ensuing economic crisis in the country. It should come as no surprise that a number of NBA franchises are now suffering financially and looking at a number of ways to keep the fans coming to the games. A number of inducements are now in place , from ‘2 for 1 alcoholic drinks’ at the games , reduce general admission prices on game day tickets and reduced parking. Whether or not, this will be enough of an inducement to keep the fans coming remains to be seen. One thing that’s not in denial however is the state of the game. It still has its ‘omnipresent stars’ , from LeBron James , Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony , Brandon Roy , Chris Paul , Deron Williams , Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan . All are seen as the faces of the NBA at present.
Last year’s NBA Finals , if anything proved to me that all the hype over Dwight Howard, is that he’s merely just a very good center but nowhere as yet, ‘the best player at the position’ within the NBA. He can’t stamp his demeanor on the game the way that we’ve seen the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon , David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Patrick Ewing and even Shaquille O’Neal have done over the course of their illustrious careers. But yet I’m to believe that Howard is that player that the fans ought now to look to ? Beyond the idiotic hype of him wearing a cape in the ‘NBA Slam Dunk’ contest. Howard has yet to show that he has the ‘leadership skills’ demanded of a player who’s viewed as a ‘team leader’.
The Orlando Magic for their part with coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith have done their best to surround Howard with a roster that should be ‘good enough’ for a return visit to the NBA Finals. But the team as a whole can’t be viewed as ‘the best’ in the Eastern Conference. Especially in light of the play of the LeBron James’ led Cleveland Cavaliers and the ever present Boston Celtics and their now quartet of veterans stars in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace. But if anything perhaps the best player on that Celtics’ roster this season may well be that of team’s point guard , Rajon Rondo. It has been Rondo, who has shown that he can raise the level of his play and provide the impetus for this Celtics’ team. Do you think that the team’s coach Doc Rivers really has ‘anything to worry about’ at this juncture ?
The Magic’s Dwight Howard and the Denver Nuggets’ Kenyon Martin share a conversation during a game between their two teams played at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets would go on to defeat the Magic 115-97 in the game. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Garrett W Ellwood …………
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports
By Marc J. Spears
As disappointingly as the NBA Finals ended for the Orlando Magic last season, the Magic also had reason to smile about the promise of the future. They were young, talented and hungry. Some change was expected, but Orlando seemingly had all the core pieces needed to contend for championships for years to come.
Orlando general manager Otis Smith, however, didn’t take an “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” approach. So, by the end of the summer, Hedo Turkoglu had left, Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie had been traded and the Magic were left staring at five new faces: Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, Jason Williams, Matt Barnes and Brandon Bass.
Today’s Magic are significantly different than the group that squared off with the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. And nearly halfway into this season, the Magic are also still trying to figure out if all the change was for the best.
“Our objective is to win an NBA championship,” Smith said. “Anything short of that is failure. When you’re having some failures, you’re looking for ways to succeed. I think we moved the right pieces in the right places. Some pieces we would have rather not have lost. We got some pieces back that we didn’t expect to have, either.”
Click on link to read Marc Spears’ article in its entirety
If Howard is really going to prove himself to be the successor in waiting as to the dominant center in the game as Shaquille O’Neal’s game begins to decline. Then now is the time to really prove it, not just to the fans of the NBA but also to the pundits and analysts who cover the NBA. It’s all well and good to have that personable smile and demeanor but in essence if you have nothing at all to back it up. Then you’ll essentially be viewed as nothing more than a good player while never fulfilling that perceived potential.
As I’ve allude to earlier , the Orlando Magic are viewed as one of the ‘elite teams’ in a somewhat pedantic and average Eastern Conference. The conference as a whole has four very good teams but beyond that quartet, everything else could be viewed as being no better than marginally average. As to what that’d indicate as to the health and state of play within the Eastern Conference. I’ll leave that up for you to decide !
Friday night, the Magic will face off against the Western Conference’s Portland Trail Blazers. And with the Blazers having now both lost Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla for the season. They are out to prove that they’re capable of playing without these two and still show that they are a team to be feared not only within conference but across the entire NBA. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Alridge are the players who lead this team with authority and the play of guards Steve Blake and Rudy Fernandez should not be overlooked at all. This game should give us an indication as to where both teams are, as to the relevance of their season. Both teams have been playing at a high level and while their records couldn’t be more dissimilar. The one thing you can be sure of is that both teams will know that they have something to prove to each other, as well as the rest of the league.
Dwight Howard if anything, has to prove his worth as a leader and an offensive presence. Inconsistency can’t be the norm for the Magic center and he knows it if he’s to be judged as one the modern day greats of the game at the position. Legacies when it comes to players who aspire to be viewed as one of the greats of the game has to be not just about hearsay but also about proof on the courts. But Howard has yet to prove that he ought to be viewed as one of the modern day greats of the game at the center position.
Last year’s NBA Finals if anything proved to me that the Orlando Magic are a long way off from where Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy would want them to be. If the Magic are to prove themselves then it will be down to the likes of Howard and his teammates Vince Carter , Rashard Lewis and others to prove that they are more than capable of being viewed as a legitimate contender to the Los Angeles Lakers’ ‘dominance’ of the NBA at present. If they are unable to do that then there’s no way that I can see them even prying away the Lakers’ grip on the Larry O’Brien trophy , much less their dominance of the NBA.
Howard’s game isn’t as multi-faceted as it ought to be and even with the tutelage of NBA great Patrick Ewing tutoring his young protégé . I can only surmise that Dwight Howard somehow feels that he has nothing else to learn from the Ewing and that his showmanship and character will get him to where he needs to be. Somehow, Howard is a player who has still yet to fully understand what he needs to be doing, in order to prove to others that he’s a player to be feared and seen as a leader. If ‘he can’t take it to the rim then no else will be around to do it for him’ .
On another note , for those of you who may have missed last night’s that thrilling finish to the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz. The finish itself, was something that can be best described as being absolutely sensational to say the very least ! The Jazz would go on to defeat the Cavaliers 97-96 on a ‘last second 3 point buzzer beater’ from NBA D League player, Sundiata Gaines. And the rest as they say is history.
If I’m showing my age here guys , then you’ll know that I’m an extremely ol’ fart. The guys in this R&B group here , Loose Ends are personal friends of mine from ‘back in the day’. This one of their hits here state’s side. ‘Hangin’ On A String’ from 1985. As to my age ,well a gentleman never tells , as they say.
Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………..