Throwin' 'Bows - The Mailbag
Just a quick note. They don't speak German in Belgium. Besides that, nice work.
- Marijn, Holland
My apologies to all German and Belgian readers. In
fact, to all readers. I am dumb.
NBA Minor league is just stupid. Chris Kaman is a great player, which most
people do not see because he is on the LA Clippers or the fact that the prima
donnas on his team do not really ever give him the ball. Chris is doing quite
well for a rookie, so basically saying that he should not be in the NBA but in
some minor league team is insulting. Every rookie in the last draft is living
in the shadow of Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. - Alexa, Michigan
Thanks for writing, Miss Kaman.
I didn't mean to say that Chris Kaman hasn't done well
for a rookie. He has, but low standards are part of
the reason for that. We're talking about 6 points and
5 boards per game. I know you love him, but he's quite
Wilt the Stilt yet, okay? I do think he can turn into
a very good player. I also think that he, and a lot of
other guys, would be better off if they were getting
big minutes every night playing against a level of
talent just a notch below the NBA. But don't let me
keep you from your Kaman worship.
Along the same lines as your McGrady tirade, I'm just wondering -- how do you
think Allen Iverson classifies as a leader? I mean, we all know Iverson gives
100% on the court, and we know he doesn't quit, regardless of the deficit margin.
If Iverson and Kobe switched places, would the Sixers have gone to the finals
in 2001? Would they be in the finals in 2002? 2003? Would Shaq and the Lakers
still be showing off three rings in a row? There's no doubt the talent's there.
Is there the drive? Also, I'm wondering how you feel about the zone defense. It's
obviously hurt penetrators and slashers like AI and Spree -- both of them have
resorted to taking jumpshots. When the slashers get into the lane, they get more
bumps and bruises than ever. (MORE bruises on Iverson?) But on the other hand,
the zone has forced players to perfect their jumpshot (except Iverson, who's still
asking about PRACTICE*), which is widely known as the lost art in the NBA. So
what do you think? Is the zone helpful or harmful? - Andrew, L.A.
That's a good question about Iverson. As much as I
love him, I don't see him as a leader. A leader has
got to lead by example, and that example has to be set
at all times. Playing hard in games is not enough,
there's got to be a commitment to practice,
conditioning, rehabbing, and doing what the coach
says, whether he's right or wrong. But I don't see it
as a lack of drive, I just see it as a lack of
understanding. What AI has to understand is that his
way is not always the best way. Things like being on
time, being at practice, and off-season conditioning
are important. Michael Jordan never felt like he could
do without them, and if he did, he never let his
teammates know it, because even if he didn't need
those things, they did.
About the zone defenses, I'm all for them. If a coach
can come up with a way to win a game, he should be
able to use it. The ban on zone defenses limited
coaching. That's how I see it. And at this level,
you've got the best and most gifted players in the
world, along with the smartest basketball people in
the world, so why would you want to limit anything?
The worst NBA ball ever played was the era of constant
isolations and one-on-one basketball, and bringing
back the zone has cut that down dramatically. Zones
definitely limit penetration a little bit, but the
toughest guys will still slash through the lane and
take a few bumps, and the reward for that is the
collapse of the zone and a wide-open three for someone
else. I hope the zone defense is always legal.
The Raptors and not just Toronto's team but also Canada's team, they are so
embarrasing. What do you think needs to be done in the off-season to get things
turned around (free agents, draft picks?) please don't say they need to trade
Carter, he and Bosh are the only two productive players on the team. - Ryan, Vancouver,
The first thing they need to do is hire a GM who will
keep Kevin O'Neill around. I'm sure he's not a
pleasant guy to play for. He might be a little bit
crazy. But he knows what he's doing, he's a great
defensive coach, and he demands a tough team. These
are qualities the Raptors need.
As for personnel, it's not going to be easy to bring
big-time free agents to Toronto. If a guy's also got
offers from Miami and LA, it might be hard to convince
him that it's more fun to hang out at the hockey hall
of fame than it is to party with the honeys in South
Beach. But maybe that's just me.
First, they need a big man. Counting on Chris Bosh to
hold down the 5-spot is not good. I love Chris Bosh's
game. At some point, he'll be a great 4. But he's not
strong enough or good enough defensively to be playing
center right now. It's ridiculous to do that to him.
Top priority is a center who can rebound and defend.
Upgrades are needed in the supporting cast, too. It
doesn't have to be all-stars, but a few veteran role
players who know how to win and are committed to
working hard can go a long way to changing the
mentality of a team.
Ha ha ....just wanted to say (sort of late) that Antonio Davis should be on
the all ugly team. He looks like a dinosuar. Seriously, a stegasaurous or something
off Turok. Darius miles looks like a Lemur and if Vlade Divac doesn't look like
a Muppet then I'll be damned. Tyron Lue and Stojackovic are both missing chromosomes
by the way. - Chef, Chicago
Thanks for sharing, Cheffie.
You are right on with your opinions about McGrady. As a resident of Orlando,
I've been treated to watch him do his thing for the last three years. In my opinion
the guy has scoring ability that I've have never seen before. This may sound like
blasphemy but Jordan didn't even score as EASILY (he scored more but not with
the ease) as this guy does. He can get 30-35 without breaking a sweat. This brings
me to my point. What if he did really try hard every night? What if he wasn't
so mentally weak? Could he average 37 like MJ did? The difference between T-Mac
and Kobe is all mental. During the losing streak early in the year I told anyone
who would listen that there was no way that Kobe would have let his team lose
that many games and that he would have stolen at least one of them!! Also I guarantee
that Kobe or KG or AI wouldn't be talking about retiring becuase people played
a zone to try and slow him down!!! I do respect the man's ability and I truly
respect that he is never in the news for any of the stupid off-court/field crap
that many other athletes are but his mental game is so far from his physical game
it frustrates me to no end. That's it. Shout to my man the Youngin' in Detroit
who put me on to your site. Thanks for your time! - KA, Orlando via Detroit
Thanks for writing. Excellent letter, and I'm glad you
I am a huge Dallas Mavericks fan, and I can't stand anymore to see the best
offensive team in the league plunge into mediocrity. Their defense make me sick.
In my opinion, they should dump Walker after this season (his contract runs out,
right?) and look at some upcoming free agents. They need a tough big man like
Kenyon Martin, Erick Dampier, Marcus Camby, Stromile Swift, or hell, even Mark
Blount. They have plenty of offensive weapons; Nash, Nowitski, Finley, and Jamison,
and Daniels and Howard can score and defend. What Mark Cuban needs to understand
is that no matter how many points you score, you have to play defense to be champions.
Your thoughts? - Ben, North Carolina
If I'm the GM of the Mavs, I keep Nash, Finley,
Jamison, and Najera and blow up the rest. It always
baffles me that Najera doesn't get more playing time.
He's all about defense and hustling for reasons other
than trying to get himself 2 points, and the Mavs are
always better with him in the game. Always. As a GM, I
could do without Dirk. He's almost a 100% offensive
player. His post defense is porous. It's great to have
him on the floor for scoring, but if he gets 30 a
game, how much is it really worth when the guy he's
guarding will have his way with him on the other end
of the floor? I like Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard,
too, and they're definitely worth holding on to. I
hope they play under another system soon before they
learn all the Mavs' bad habits.
The bottom line is that the Mavs are just not going to
win an NBA championship until a massive overhaul is
made. No defense, no title. That equation is pretty
simple. Mark Cuban and Don Nelson have tried the all
offense/no defense philosophy, and it's been proven
not to work. It's time to move on.
MJD, whaddup! As Hammer used to say "Let's get it started!" It' s playoff time
baby! Time for the real season and time for me to call out everyone who thinks
championships (league and conference) are won in the regular. Translation: Piston
and Pacer fans and media alike. I am surprised that so many who claim to know
and watch the league continue to write off NJ. NJ is easily the most talented
basketball team in the east and they actually play basketball, not wrestle ball.
They've won the East the past 2 years and the regular season is a long, boring
grind for a team that has been to the Finals (Just ask the Lakers). They're better
at many positions (Jason and RJ) and just as good at others (K Mart & Kittles)
than Detroit and Indiana. I know Jason's health is a big factor but he'll be fine
and so will the Nets. Since acquiring Rasheed the Pistons are definitely a contender.
So basically the East comes down to Detroit and NJ. I fully expect the Pacers's
reg. season success to not translate into postseason success just like the Pistons
experience last season. Carlisle in building his coaching resume places too much
emphasis on the regular season. As Magic used to say when every year someone wanted
to say it was Portland's year, until they beat somebody real in the real season,
they ain't the team to beat. So I'm rolling with the Nets. I can handle being
wrong but if Detroit beats NJ, I want everyone to join me in praying daily that
they don't meet Indiana. As much as I love the league, I will not be a witness
to one of the nation's top wrestling teams winning a conference final game 63-62.
THAT IS NOT BASKETBALL! Yeah, I know 'D wins titles' but the teams that made that
a true statement were also talented enough to also AVERAGE at least 95 on the
offensive end. Only the Nets are capable of that in the East! - Youngin', the
We can never have too many Hammer lines in The 'Bows,
but I gotta disagree with you about a few things. I
just don't know about the Nets. It could be that they
peaked too early, or it could be that they just don't
have it this year, but either way, with 2 games left
in the regular season, you'd like to be playing your
best ball, and the Nets just aren't. Kidd and Martin
are finally both back in the line-up, but I don't know
if either of them will be getting close to 100% from
here on out. Kidd at 75% is still better than most
point guards in the league, but Kidd is the Nets.
Without him doing the things he does, the Nets become
a very ordinary team.
And I don't see any comparison between Rick Carlisle's
Pacers this year and Pistons last year. Detroit was
good last year, but it was clear that they just didn't
have the offensive firepower to get it done. They
could beat good teams last year, but they couldn't
compete with teams that were better than good, like
the Nets were. They just didn't have the tools. They
didn't have a Jermaine O'Neal.
The Pacers play some of the toughest defense in the
league, they have a nice bench, and they also have one
of the best post scorers in the league. That's a
pretty tough combo, and it's taken them to the best
record in the league. Better than Minnesota,
Sacramento, LA, or any other team. Best record in the
league. That is not something to be slept on.
Got a question, comment, problem, tirade, hate mail, love
it along here.
M.J. Darnell runs www.themightymjd.com.