Throwin' 'Bows: The Mailbag
I've let the mailbag questions build up for a while.
It's time to speak directly to the people. MJD is
nothing if not a man of the people. I love the
questions, so please, don't be shy. Keep them coming.
Who should the Raps go after in the draft? A point
guard or big man? Which ever one you decide to pick,
who are some options in the draft for that position? -
The Raptors are like a big Krispy Kreme. Or, since
it's Toronto you're asking about, they're like a big
Tim Horton's. The point is, there's a big damn hole in
the middle. The best center in Toronto is Jing Kao.
Unfortunately, she's a 5'9" Asian woman and plays for
the Toronto Dragons in the North American Chinese
Basketball Association Invitational Tournament.
But the problem with drafting a center is that the
Raptors need one now. They can't wait. And with only a
3.7% chance of landing the top spot in the draft,
getting Emeka Okafor in a Raptors jersey is a pipe
dream, and there's really no one else that you can
count on at the center spot to produce right away.
Point guard is probably a better option. They probably
won't have a chance at Shaun Livingston, but someone
like Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris, Ben Gordon, or
Sebastian Telfair would be available.
Of that group, I like Nelson the best, though NBA
scouts don't seem to agree. I think he's a very smart
player that does all the little things well. On top of
that, he can penetrate, shoot, distribute, defend, and
has an NBA body. The knock on him is that he's only
5'11", but his physical strength on defense and
creativity on offense should be more than enough to
Given the present salaries, can you assemble a
championship team and be under the cap? If so, who'll
be on your 12 man team? Go on, show us you can out
Jerry J.West. - P. Ang, Manila
Fun question. And while I'd never pretend that I could
out-Jerry the legendary Jerry West, I'll give this a
shot. I'm not even going to rely on any cracked-out,
crazy-ass braintyping thing that Danny Ainge is in to.
And my team will be awesome. I would guarantee a
championship for these fellas. We've got $43.8 mil to
work with, based on this year's salaries. I'll give
you a 12-man roster, complete with youth, defense,
scoring, role players, go-to guys, spark off the
bench, leadership, and character. I won't even take
LeBron or Carmelo on their rookie contracts, and I'll
even save a little room under the cap for when we sign
Charles Oakley down the stretch.
C - Ben Wallace, $5,500,000. Samuel Dalembert,
PF - Tim Duncan, $12,676,000. Karl Malone, $1,500,000.
Brian Skinner, $1,500,000.
SF - Shane Battier, $2,533,000. Brian Cardinal,
SG - Michael Redd, $3,000,000. James Posey,
$4,917,000. Mickael Peitrus, $1,661,000.
PG - Eric Snow, $4,500,000. Bobby Jackson, $2,925,000.
How ya like that?
I am so tired of people coming down on the Mavs. It is
no secret that there defense isn't the best in the
league, but these guys have gone out the past four
years and won 50+ games. What is so bad about that?
You never here the Kings catching flack over there
defense or lack there of. The Mavs will defeat a beat
up Kings squad in the first round. In fact if they
were healthy it wouldn't matter the Mavs would take
them. The Mavs have a lot of playoff experience on
that team, and they might just surprise some people in
the second round. Don't forget about the two most
underrated rookies in the league either. Haters quit
acting like we are the Hawks or the Wizards or
something and take a look at the best team everyone
writes off. Dirk, Nash, Finley, Jamison, Walker,
Howard, Daniels, and Najera are on there way haters,
like 'em or not. - Nate, Dallas
Yes, the Mavs are on their way. And you should be on
your way... to rehab. Nate, please put down the pipe.
Fight the pipe, Nate. The Mavericks are not going to
win a championship. I say that with 100% certainty.
What's wrong with winning 50+ games? Nothing. Winning
50 games is fine, but shouldn't the goal be to win a
championship? A team just can't do that if they can't
That said, I have actually noticed the Mavs getting
slightly better on defense. Their improvement now puts
them at the level of terrible. Before, they were
horrible. Horrrrrible. Now they're just terrible.
Antoine Walker's minutes went from 28 down to 21 from
game one to game two. That helped, before it went back
up to 25 and 27 in the next two games. Get that number
down to between 2 and 5 minutes, and it'll be even
better. Antoine Walker can't defend, and isn't giving
them much offensively. He should be getting Darko
minutes. Seeing him start Game 4, when the Mavs had at
least three different better options available, just
confused the hell out of me.
Eduardo Najera should be getting those minutes. As
'Toine's minutes went down from game to game two,
Eduardo Najera, one of my favorite players, saw his
minutes go from 8 to 20. That helped. Then they went
to 9 and 18 in the next two games. I don't know why
Don Nelson can't see how much better Najera's presence
makes that team.
Dirk Nowitzki has made an effort to become a better
off-the-ball defender, and has been stepping over to
block some shots. It's an improvement, but he's still
pretty terrible. Jerry West could take him one-on-one.
And I mean Jerry West right now, not in his prime. But
I think the key thing is that Dirk wants to get
better, and will eventually find a way to make his
lack of defensive ability not absolutely cripple his
I just wonder what would happen if the Mavs went with
a primary line-up of Nash, Finley, Najera, Nowitzki,
and Scott Williams, while cycling Marquis Daniels,
Josh Howard, and Antawn Jamison off the bench.
Offensively, it's not the Mavs best line-up, but they
could still do a lot of running and force some matchup
problems. Defensively, no one's going to mistake them
for the Spurs, but between Najera, Finley, and
Williams, they should get enough stops to always be at
least in the game.
Can you please inform Ryan from Vancouver who wrote
"The Raptors are not just Toronto's team but also
Canada's team", that there is absolutely no way in
hell that the Raptor's are "Canada's team"!!!
Vancouver lost a huge chunk of it's basketball soul
when Michael Heisley stole the Grizz and fled to
Memphis. Any self-respecting hoops fan would not allow
that void to be filled by purple dinosaurs. - Dave,
I'm not going to tell him that, but I'll let you do
it. I don't blame you for being upset, and I feel you
on the purple dinosaurs. It's a little embarrassing.
Their uniforms when they first came into the league...
man, those were harsh. It was like the owner let his
ADD kid a box of crayons and said, "Here, draw daddy a
uniform." They're a bit better now, but still, they're
purple, and there's a damn cartoon dinosaur dancing
nearby. You don't wanna roll like that.
I think the Clippers were such a disappointment that I
wonder if they're ever going to make the playoffs.
Just look at the previous year and at all the talent
they had: Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Cory Maggette, Que
Richardson, Andre Miller. If that lineup doesn't get
you to the playoffs then what does? (probably
Utah's...) - Raanan, Israel
Talent, they have. A winning attitude, they don't.
Teams and organizations get so mired in a losing
culture, and they lose the knowledge of how to win.
None of the guys on that team know what it's like to
be on a team that understands the committment and
sacrifice it takes to succeed at the highest level.
You can't underestimate the importance of that. Look
at the talent on that team, and whether or not they
should make the playoffs is arguable, but they
definitely should have a better record than they have.
How do you change the losing culture? It's tough. Part
of it is to stop looking for young, talented players.
You've got to bring in veterans that have been there,
who know what it takes to win, and who will make the
sacrifices to do so. Someone's got to set the example.
But that's difficult to do. Number one, those guys are
in high demand. Number two, the leaders also have to
be players. Not necessarily the best players, but they
need to be on the floor. No one's going to listen to a
guy that spends all of his evenings glued to the
OK, so let's get it straight: I live in the German
speaking part of Belgium, so I know a little bit about
it. Belgium is divided in 3 language parts: Dutch,
French and German. There is nearly no multilinguicity
in this country, because it seems sometimes like every
language group hates the others. Of course the German
speaking part is the minority with about 120,000
people. But props to you, because nearly 50% of
Belgium citizens don't even know that there is a part
of their country where they speak German and now you,
as an American, know it.
PS: Malmedy has no German Newspaper. Malmedy is in the
French speaking part of Belgium, a 10-minute ride from
where I live, St. Vith, a small city in the German
speaking part and which HAS a German speaking
newspaper. But please tell me that this is all a
dream, because if I ever read again about this in your
Mailbag, I have to think that the world has gone down
and NBA coverage has become the most country thing
ever. Peace. - Marc Solheid, the German-speaking part
I appreciate you writing in to help us figure this
out, especially when it's clear that you've been hurt
by those in Belgium who disrespect you and your
German-speaking brethren. You could always come to
America, where we discriminate for much better
reasons, like skin color and social status.
But thanks for the help in clearing that up. The
multilinguicity compliment I gave to the people of
Belgium, I take back, and shame on you, Belgians, for
trying to deceive me into giving you an undeserved
compliment. I stand by my compliments of the waffles,
I first want to say that I really like your
feature. Especially the last one about the
Kings-Mavs series. You're so right on that series! And
I share your opinion on Don Nelson. But I've one
question for you, what do you think of Medvedenko?
Everytime I watch him play, I really think that he
hasn't got a clue what he's doing on a basketball
court. He's really good in keeping his own teammates
from penetrating and making stupid fouls. And if I see
Brian Cook on the bench, than I really don't get it.
Cook played well in limited minutes, while Medvedenko
really sux.... - Damy Gliejm, Sassenheim, The
I like Cook, too. And Luke Walton. But at this point
in the season, it's hard to blame Phil Jackson for
giving an experienced guy more minutes than either of
the rookies. Phil Jackson can't always count on
Medvedenko to do the right thing, but he can count on
Medvedenko to be Medvedenko. It might not be great,
but there won't be any surprises, either. Put a rookie
out there in playoff time, and who knows what you're
going to get. At least I think that's how Phil
probably sees it.
If Medvedenko is still in L.A. next year (he's a free
agent), I'd expect to see his minutes get cut in favor
of Cook and/or Walton. But in the playoffs, experience
is a huge deal, so it's tough to fault Phil for
rolling with Medvedenko.
Don't you guys think that Juwan Howard has a birthmark
on his butt? Which means that he's always been unlucky
not only for himself but also the team he plays for.
The Magic are so good last year... and most people
think they're better this year with the aquisition of
Juwan Howard.. but I think Juwan Howard stinks.. he
make teams stink. Another player I hate is the best
cheerleader in the league. Mark Madsen.. it really
annoys me when he doesnt do anything but he feels he's
the man... Wow! Mark Madsen is very cool! - Dobby,
Truth be told, Dobby, I've never spent much time
contemplating what's on Juwan Howard's ass. I'm not
saying it's wrong, in fact, if you feel like this is
an avenue you need to explore, I encourage you to do
so. But Juwan's cheeks are not something we're going
to spend a lot of time on here in Throwin' Bows.
I don't get your disdain for Mark Madsen. What did
Mark Madsen ever do to hurt anyone? That's like going
to a little league baseball game and rooting against
the dorky kid who gets stuck in leftfield for two
innings per game, only because league rules indicate
that he has to. Myself, I'm a Madsen fan. He works
hard in games and practice, plays defense, rebounds,
hustles, and doesn't bitch. I've never really seen
anything from Mark Madsen that indicates to me that he
thinks he's the man. I don't think he's ever gone into
Flip Saunders office and said, "Listen, Flip. You got
the Mad Dog on your roster. Stop running plays for
Spree, Sam, or KG. The Mad Dog needs the ball. If you
don't feed the Mad Dog, he's not going to protect the
yard. It's the Mad Dog's world... KG just lives
As far as Juwan Howard goes... the only thing he's
guilty of is poor timing. He left the Nuggets
pre-Carmelo, and joined the Magic for the grand Tracy
McGrady leadership experiment. I won't say he hurt the
Magic, but he didn't help much. He and Drew Gooden
play the same position, and only showed a few brief
glimpses of being able to play well together. What
killed the Magic was not the addition of Juwan Howard,
but the loss of Darrell Armstrong. The Magic got
atrocious play at the point guard position this year,
but more importantly than that, the lost their heart
and their leader. Those were the important things
Darrell Armstrong brought to the team, and when he
left, there was no one on the roster to fill those
voids. That killed the Magic. Or, it could've been the
pigmentation on Juwan Howard's ass.
Good call on keeping zone defenses... and Eduardo
Najera. Quick note on T-Mac: he needs to step up his
leadership to match his game, but he's still one of
the all-around-good-guys off the floor. I'm a long
time Duke-hater, but have to admit, I'm impressed by
Duhon's toughness, poise, smarts, and skill. How do
you see him impacting a pro team? - CK, NC
Thanks for the note about T-Mac. You're right. As much
as I've said about him, I should also note that he is
a good guy off the court. Good call.
As for Duhon, I think he can have a huge impact on a
pro team, so long as that pro team is in the NBDL or
Alright, maybe that's a little harsh. I'm still a
little burnt out on Duhon from the NCAA Tournament
when I couldn't go more than 5 seconds without hearing
about his incredible toughness and heart. When Verne
Lundquist actually said the words, "What a man!" it
was over for me. I was off the Duhon bandwagon
Trying to be objective, though (never one of my strong
points) I'd give Duhon a decent chance of sticking in
the NBA as a back-up point guard. I don't see him
having the ability of a starter, though. I like a lot
of the things he does. He defends. He's athletic, and
he can get up and down the floor. He plays a smart
game. But the offense just isn't there. He doesn't
have a great jumpshot, and can't get to the rack all
that well, either. I like point guards who are
primarily distributors, but it's a lot harder to
create things for teammates when no one has to have
much respect for your ability to penetrate or stick
the three. But he could be a solid career back-up
point guard, the kind of guy who has a long and
unspectacular NBA career as a role player.
Yo MJDeeze, can we talk Kobe! This is one of my
favorite subjects. If KB looked off some shots on
Sunday to prove a point, I'm cool with that. Remember
MJ had to put Phil in check once when he only took 8
shots against the Pistons. That great triangle isn't
nearly as effective without a Mike or Kobe pressuring
the D and going for 30 and there's nothing wrong with
giving Phil a lil' reminder. Back to my Hoss! Big Baby
Shaq and those other 2 clowns posing as Lakers this
season need to stop crying about Kobe's shot totals.
Bottom line is without Kobe going for 30 while dishing
out 5 assists, the Lakers are a very ordinary squad-
Shaq or not! The fact remains for everyone who wants
#11 to be some big factor in LA's title run, this team
is still Kobe and Shaq's! And what real LA fan wants
to see Kobe shoot 10 times, scoring only 18 points if
it means watching some old and busted JAZZ power
forward score 17 on turnaround jumpers and lay-ins. I
will never forgive the Honorable Dr. Buss for allowing
this jerk to wear the Laker purple and gold. He's the
reason I have no pick for winner of the Western
Conference - I can not and will not pick or pull for a
team with that clown on their roster. Maybe I'd feel
better if someone would have let Darrell Walker hit
him with that chair after he knocked out Zeek.
Later... - Youngin', The D
It's kind of an old issue by now, but we've not
discussed it before. You're absolutely right, the
Lakers are going nowhere without Kobe. The Lakers
minus Kobe would probably beat the Rockets in a 7-game
series, but after that, they'd be in trouble. For the
Lakers, this postseason is really all about #8.
The "controversy" about Kobe sabotaging a game was
ridiculous. Say what you want about Kobe, but even if
he's the worst human being in the universe, he's got a
huge will to win. It's MJ-like. And there was a half
when he took no shots... So? Kobe's been doing that a
lot this year, taking the first half and trying to get
his teammates involved, and taking over in the second
half if need be. It's not selfish, it's not unselfish,
it's Kobe knowing that it's best for the Lakers for
his teammates to get in the flow of things. It's a
strategy. And if the other guys were hitting their
open jumpshots that they got because of Kobe, he'd
have 10 assists in the first half, the Lakers would've
won, and no one would've said a word. Sabotaging the
As far as Karl goes... I'm not a huge fan, either, but
your Karl hate certainly outweighs mine. I think he's
been a dirty player throughout his career, and I think
he was planning on selfishly hanging around the league
until he broke the all-time scoring record, but I
think that's changed for him. I think he's done after
this year. The death of his mother was hard on him,
and I'm just guessing, but it probably changed him a
lot as a person. I'm never going to be in the Karl
Malone fan club, but it's hard to hate him at this
point, knowing he's gone through so much and is
probably about to retire.
And not only that, he's a pretty important player for
the Lakers. Not in terms of scoring, but in terms of
sharing the ball, helping to move the offense, setting
an example, working hard, and sacrificing for the
team. Those are things they'll need if they want to
win the title.
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