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The NBA Season
The Fight Dominates the media, but LeBron has my Attention
by John Blagtas on Nov 21, 2004
Before the fight occurred, I had wanted to talk about the Warriors. Before the season, all we could hear was how they were continuing the turnaround. Right? They only needed a better front office. Enter Mullin. They only needed a more seasoned hand. Enter Montgomery. Result of the moves, uh, at least last year's Warriors were competitive. So, now from a team that only two seasons ago had a solid Jamison, Arenas, Hughes, Dampier core, we see a new crop of bad contracts and no floor leader. Bay Area fans are beginning to wonder if the Warriors will ever "come out to play-ay". Last word: .386 FG % is not going to win you too many games.
Now, to the news that has been all over the airwaves. What happened in Detroit? Is it really a reflection of our society? The fight between Wallace and Artest was basically over. Artest was lying on the scorers table when a cup of beer or soda came flying down. Normally the player might curse something back, the fan would get arrested, end of story. Artest on the other hand isn't a normal player. He's a big, talented prima dona who won't let go of his tough guy act. Really he has problems. Most players conduct themselves as successful businessmen should. And like a business, if the league wants to keep growing, it needs to make sure that cooler heads always prevail. As painful as the remedy is, I'm not sure it's severe enough - Artest should have to sit out the rest of the regular season, but be allowed to join the team for the playoffs. As for Jackson and O'Neil, Vernon Maxwell got a 10 game suspension in 1995, so give these yahoos 15 - 20 games.
Also, Mr. Stern, please take some action on the player / fan barrier issue. What will it take for the league to act? Hopefully not some Monica Seles situation. All dead ball situations, especially at the ends of games, should be seen as times when problems can arise. But when the fans are so close to the action, it may ultimately take more radical measures to make sure something truly tragic doesn't transpire.
Okay, enough about the craziness, how about a little more attention for the player who is taking the league by storm. No, it's not KG who is having an even more amazing season than last and by rights will win another MVP if he continues doing what he's doing - 24.1 pts. 15.4 rbs. 6.5 ast. .500 fg%. It's LeBron James. Let's look at these stats: 27.1 pts. 8.2 rbs. 5.7 ast. .489 fg%.
Yes, this year has been a real eye opener. Never have I seen any guard dominate the league like LeBron, since you know who came into the league - 28.2 pts. 6.5 rbs 5.9 ast. .515 fg%. Kobe and Tracy have been the pretenders in this saga of finding a worthy heir to the throne. Last year, I thought, great all-around player but not a great shot. Well, he's worked on that and his game has picked up. His steals are up, and his knowledge of when he should be scoring and when he should be dishing is uncanny. But what really separates him from the rest is his desire to be the best he can be. When asked about where he stacks up, he just says it's about getting his team the W for that night. When was the last time you heard a 19 year old say something so sanguine? And you get the feeling that he can up his game even more whenever he needs to. While Kobe and Tracy sometimes seem to fall into a trance where they can only contribute with points, LeBron doesn't mind scoring 19. As long as his team wins, he's alright with it. And while some might think it easy to be like LeBron, I would counter that it must be hard to know you can go for 40 but reign it in enough to get your team wins night in and out. And I wouldn't be writing about the greatness of this talented young baller if his team wasn't winning. The Cavaliers have completely turned it around, 6 - 3, and it's just a start. Maybe this year won't be the year, but it's coming. He had a great sidekick in Carlos Boozer, but the guy must have been boozing when he bolted. Three years from now, we'll see if we're talking about how a tough bruiser skipped town lost his chance to partake in the ultimate post season celebration. Probably not. We'll be talking about how the rightful heir to "The Man" came into the league and just took it higher.
Team of the week: Besides Cleveland, it has to be the Seattle Supersonics. Ray Allen has been a man on fire - .577% from 3 pts range. Although I would be surprised if they were to win the division, they have definitely been a fun team to watch. And the Sonics have to be a scary opponent for any team becuase if their shots are falling, forget about it.
by John Blagtas on Nov 21, 2004