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Thread: 2004-03-01

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    Default 2004-03-01

    Who should start tanking the season?
    By Chad Ford
    NBA Insider
    Send an Email to Chad Ford Monday, March 1
    Updated: March 1
    10:15 AM ET

    Normally, I'm not allowed to use obscene words in my column ... something about
    being family friendly ... but every year I go ahead and push the envelope here
    and write an entire column using the dirtiest word in the NBA. Cover your
    childrens' ears if you just happen to be reading this out loud.

    Tank, v.: To suffer a sudden decline or failure.

    There, I said it.

    The Hawks deny they're doing it. The Magic, at this point, have no choice but to
    do it. The Clippers and Warriors are proving once again they've perfected the
    art form. The Bulls, despite all that talent, can't get off the merry-go-round.
    We all know what goes on behind closed doors, in the dark corners of locker
    rooms and in the wandering mind of Tracy McGrady.

    Avert your eyes if you must. Flee the scene if you can't take the heat. Hang a
    scarlet "T" around your mascot's neck if it makes you feel any better.

    It's tanking time folks. You know it. I know it. And the American people know
    it. And secretly, you love it. You want Dwight Howard or Emeka Okafor on that
    wall. You need him on that wall. You don't want the truth because, frankly, you
    can't handle the truth.

    What else should teams like the Bulls or Wizards be doing at this point in the
    season?

    While it's reprehensible for a team to begin the season with such a goal, at
    this point several teams would be stupid not to dump their last 20 games.

    The Cavs did it shamelessly last season, and look what it landed them. Sold-out
    arenas every night for the next decade and a fighting chance at the playoffs
    this season.

    Everyone is still playing for something. Playoffs or lottery balls? Experience
    or upside? Honor or hope? For the good teams out there, there's no time like the
    present. For the bad ones, there's always next year.

    The key is understanding which category you're in. Sure, it's easy to say the
    Suns are playing for the lottery and the Kings are playing for a ring. But what
    about the Celtics, Sixers, Jazz, Blazers and Sonics?

    Should they be going for the gold or enrolling in the Lottery Ball Acquisition
    Program? In our ongoing effort to educate, Insider reveals the answers today.

    But remember, sometimes the truth hurts.

    There should be one simple mantra for lottery-bound teams 60 games into the
    season: If it's broke, don't fix it.

    Here's a look at 10 teams that should tank the rest of the season ...

    Orlando Magic
    Record: 17-44
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 25%

    The Skinny: The Magic are playing their best basketball of the season (four wins
    in their last 10 games) at the worst possible time of the year. The Magic don't
    have the flexibility to dramatically alter their roster in free agency or via
    trade. They just don't have enough pieces. After severable miserable drafts,
    they need to hit a home run this year. The problem is, the two best players in
    the draft -- Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor -- play the same position as
    Orlando's second- and third-best players -- Juwan Howard and Drew Gooden. The
    Magic do seem enamored with 7-foot-5 Siberian giant Pavel Podkolzine, but he's
    not ready to contribute yet.

    Chicago Bulls
    Record: 17-42
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 20%

    The Skinny: Deja vu? The Bulls are in serious running for the first pick in the
    draft. GM John Paxson has a thing for Okafor, so don't assume the Bulls are
    tired of collecting inexperienced players in the draft. If they slip to No. 2
    and Dwight Howard is on the board, pass Paxson the Rolaids. Most believe the
    Bulls will try to trade this pick, along with another asset or two, to land a
    veteran all-star. Still, to get the most for their money, they need to stop this
    silly streak of winning and get back to what they do best -- dumping the ball
    into Eddy Curry, then limping off the court with another "L" in the Win-Loss
    column.

    Washington Wizards
    Record: 18-41
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 15.7%

    The Skinny: Like the Bulls, the Wizards probably have had their fill of young,
    inexperienced draft picks. The team has eight players with three years of
    experience or less. But there is a lot of interest in Okafor, who by NBA draft
    standards is a 10-year vet, and also interest in moving the pick. If they can
    add a tough, legitimate center to play alongside Kwame Brown, the Wizards might
    actually be able to make some noise next season. They're another team that's
    been winning a little too much lately.

    Atlanta Hawks
    Record: 19-40
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 12%

    The Skinny: They have nothing to play for. Next year's roster, with the possible
    exception of Boris Diaw and Travis Hansen, won't look anything like this
    season's ragtag squad. The Hawks' latest move, dumping Dion Glover, proves they
    have the right idea, but when are they really going to get serious and sit Jason
    Terry for the season? The Hawks' worst nightmare is an injury to Terry that
    makes him untradeable this summer. As far as the draft goes, it's likely the
    Hawks' chances of landing the No. 1 pick will improve, as the odds of them
    reaching 22 wins seems pretty slim right now. Look for Atlanta to nab local
    product Dwight Howard if it gets the No. 1 pick.

    Phoenix Suns
    Record: 20-41
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 8.9%

    The Skinny: The Suns are, by far, the most talented team in this group. Unlike
    everyone else here, they have a very solid core with Amare Stoudemire, Shawn
    Marion, Joe Johnson and some nice young players in Leandro Barbosa, Zarko
    Cabarkapa, Casey Jacobsen and Maciej Lampe. Throw in the draft rights to Milos
    Vujanic, and it's pretty clear the Suns don't need this pick. Unless there is a
    legitimate, Western Conference center waiting for them in this draft, you can be
    pretty sure they'll try to package this pick, along with Jahidi White's
    contract, to get the cap room they need to make a major run at a veteran free
    agent. Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant have the buzz, with Mehmet Okur as a sleeper
    should the Pistons decide to only re-sign Rasheed Wallace.

    Philadelphia 76ers
    Record: 24-36
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 6.4%

    The Skinny: The Sixers have crumbled before our eyes this season. I know they're
    still trying to grit things out and make a run at the playoffs -- and they have
    a legit shot, as almost everyone in the East does -- but is it in the Sixers'
    best interest? The team is getting old and needs fresh blood, especially on the
    front line. Philly's only young players with much promise are Samuel Dalembert,
    John Salmons and, to a lesser extent, Kyle Korver. The Sixers need a freakishly
    versatile, athletic player like Howard in the worst way. Landing the No. 1 pick
    could turn a dying franchise around pretty fast.

    Boston Celtics
    Record: 25-36
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 2.9%

    The Skinny: Danny Ainge loves this draft so much, he was willing to take on the
    last two years of Chucky Atkins' contract just to get a third first-round pick,
    even if it's low in the round. With the Celtics playing some of the worst
    basketball in the league right now, I believe Ainge has decided it's time to
    throw in the towel. He wants head coach John Carroll to play young players like
    Jiri Welsch, Brandon Hunter, Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins so he has a
    better feel for what he does and doesn't have going into the summer. Given
    Danny's preference for up-tempo basketball, you can be pretty sure he's gunning
    for a player like Howard to add size and versatility to his front line.

    Golden State Warriors
    Record: 25-33
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 1.5%

    The Skinny: No one knows this game better than the Warriors. They should miss
    the playoffs for a league-leading ninth consecutive year. Another late lottery
    pick isn't going to help things, and the playoffs appear to be out of the
    question now. Time to pull Erick Dampier (before he gets hurt), Cliff Robinson
    and Calbert Cheaney out of the rotation and let Mike Dunleavy and Mickael
    Pietrus shoot the team into lottery land.

    Los Angeles Clippers
    Record: 25-33
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 1.4%

    The Skinny: Does it really matter?

    Seattle SuperSonics
    Record: 27-32
    Chance of landing No. 1 pick: 0.7%

    The Skinny: Nate McMillan hates this. You don't blame him. But when the Sonics
    decided not to make a move at the trade deadline, GM Rick Sund essentially told
    McMillan the playoffs weren't a priority this year. It's probably just as well.
    Now's the time to throw Ronald Murray and Luke Ridnour out there and see how
    well they'll mesh with Ray Allen.

    Around the League

    Kobe heats up: Has there been a better player over the past two weeks than Kobe
    Bryant. Kobe got off to a slow start this season, and the constant distractions
    of the trial of the year hanging over his head and some nagging injuries have
    been a problem. For the first time all season, though, he seems focused, healthy
    and he's lighting everyone up. He dropped 40 points on the Suns, a triple-double
    on the Wizards and had a streak of six games in seven where he averaged 28
    points or more. That stopped with an 11 point, 10 assist "off night" in New
    Jersey on Sunday. What's gotten into Kobe? He's averaging 30 ppg, 8.3 apg and 8
    rpg on 53 percent shooting since the break.

    "This is the fist time this season I've had to try to will us back in the game,"
    Bryant said. "A lot of times you can look at the stats and put up good numbers,
    but a lot of times that's not what does it. You really have to put forth the
    will and, when your teammates see that you're putting forth 110 percent, then
    they have to follow suit. They have to believe. And I believe."

    Andrei a giant? Sometimes being selected to the All-Star game too early can ruin
    a guy's career. It was no secret Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan was worried
    third-year forward Andrei Kirilenko made the cut too soon, fearing Kirilenko
    would become complacent and quit working on the areas of his game that needed
    improvement. Well ...

    Kirilenko has been on fire since the break. The Russian forward averaged 16.3
    ppg before the break and is averaging 23.3 ppg after it. And he's doing it with
    more steals, the same number of rebounds and assists and with a better field
    goal percentage. Kirilenko already has made the leap from great prospect to
    All-Star this year. Is he about to make the jump to superstar in the second
    half? He dropped in a game-winning 3-pointer against the Sonics last Wednesday
    and sounded like a man with new-found confidence afterward.

    "It's tougher when people say, 'All-Star, All-Star,' but I'm liking it," said
    Kirilenko, who scored 24 points, including seven of the Jazz's nine points in
    overtime. "I can make big shot at important moment, like the 3-pointer -- boom!
    I like it."

    Posey for most-improved: The Grizzlies also have come out of the All-Star break
    on fire, and it's becoming pretty clear their best player is not Pau Gasol or
    Mike Miller but the unheralded James Posey. Jerry West signed Posey to a
    bargain, mid-level deal this summer without much fanfare. The thinking at the
    time was Posey would give the Grizzlies a big, athletic, defensive-minded
    swingman to balance the plethora of offensive types on the team. Who knew that
    by February he'd also be the team's first option on offense?

    Posey's improvement over the course of the season has been stunning. He averaged
    8.6 ppg and 3.4 rpg on 40 percent shooting in November. He upped that to 11.9
    ppg and 4.3 rpg in December on 46 percent shooting. In January the numbers
    jumped again to 14.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg while shooting 51 percent from the field.
    In February the numbers increased again to 18.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg on 54 percent
    shooting. It gets even better if you focus on his post All-Star break numbers --
    22.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg on 54 percent shooting. He's been doing all of this the last
    seven games despite a badly bruised inner thigh that would put a player like
    Marcus Camby out for the season.

    I don't think I'm going out on a limb here when I throw Posey's name into the
    ring for most improved player of the year. He's been downright awesome and the
    biggest reason the Grizzlies are 5-2 since the break.

    Rookie surprise: Either LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony will walk away with
    Rookie of the Year honors in a few months, but who would've guessed their
    closest competition at this point would be Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich?
    Hinrich's game has slowly evolved to the point coach Scott Skiles now believes
    the rookie point is the best player on the entire team.

    Hinrich's post All-Star numbers are impressive. He's averaging 16.7 ppg, 7.5
    apg, 5.8 rpg and shooting 47 percent from downtown, including his first
    triple-double Saturday night against the Warriors. Hinrich becomes the first
    member of the draft class of 2003 to accomplish that.

    Only Anthony (27.3 ppg, 6 rpg, 47 percent shooting) and James (22 ppg, 7 rpg,
    4.7 apg, 46 percent shooting) have been better since the break.

    Soaring Hawks: Who are the two big winners in Atlanta after the Rasheed Wallace
    trade? Stephen Jackson and Chris Crawford. In the absence of anyone else who can
    shoot and score the basketball, both players have seen a big boost in minutes
    and shots since the trade.

    Start with Jackson, who has the most to gain. He can and will opt out of his
    contract this summer, and he now has his first chance to show what he can do
    outside the shadow of Tim Duncan and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. He's averaging 21 ppg,
    6 rpg and 3.6 apg since Wallace was traded, a nice up-tick over his 14.8 ppg and
    4.1 rpg season average before the trade.

    Crawford's production has been even more eye-popping. He averaged just 8.4 mpg
    and 2.6 ppg on 37 percent shooting before Abdur-Rahim was dealt. He's been
    averaging 19.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg on 52 percent shooting since taking over as the
    team's starting power forward five games ago.

    "When [Wallace] got traded, there were no more power forwards left," Crawford
    told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I just decided to take advantage of the
    opportunity that came before me."

    Crawford played a total of 12 games the previous two seasons. He tore his
    anterior cruciate ligament during the 2001-02 season and has had to endure three
    surgeries. "The last two years have been a struggle," Crawford said, "but I'm
    getting my athletic ability and my jumping ability back to where it was."
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: 2004-03-01

    The Good, the Bad, the Kitchen Sink
    Terry Brown
    Monday, March 1
    Updated: March 1
    2:42 PM ET

    Who knew that on March 1, the Return Of The King would have just as many Oscars
    as the Chicago Bulls would have home wins?

    The Good

    Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz
    Week's work: 3-0 record, 25 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.6 spg, 3 bpg, 53.2%
    shooting

    Is he a center? Is he a power forward? If all you ever saw were his
    statistics, you'd have no idea that this guy is a paper-thin small forward who
    has led his $28 million team to within two games of the Western Conference
    playoffs while the Blazers, at $84 million, are three games out. Or maybe you
    missed him tipping in the game-winning shot in overtime against the Sonics last
    week as Ray Allen, $13.5 million in salary, and Rashard Lewis, $7 million in
    salary, watched. For the record, Kirilenko will make $955,000 this season. Thank
    you very much.

    Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
    Week's work: 2-1 record, 27 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.3 spg, 1.3 bpg, 57.7%
    shooting

    On Sunday night, outscored Peja Stojakovic 33 to 32 while outrebounding Brad
    Miller 17 to 10 before fouling out with 28 second left and really getting mad.

    Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons
    Week's work: 4-0 record, 19.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.7 bpg, 53.7%
    shooting

    Has now scored 1,115 points this season as a shooting guard of which only 24
    have come from 3-point range. Believe me, this should be required reading.

    Michael Finley, Dallas Mavericks
    Week's work: 3-0, 20.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 2 bpg, 9 triples, 50%
    shooting

    This is all you need to know about Michael Finley's importance to the
    offensive-minded Mavericks. Prior to the midweek clash between Dallas and San
    Antonio, Manu Ginobili had rung up double-digits in the scoring column in eight
    of nine February games. Against the Mavs that night, he had seven points on
    3-for-10 shooting as Dallas rolled. Believe me, this game was well in Finley's
    hand long before Duncan went down. The Mavs have won five in a row and are
    within half a game of the Spurs.

    The Bad

    Morris Peterson, Toronto Raptors
    Weak work: 0-4 record, 6.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 26.4% shooting

    Last year, he was a starter. This year, it took injuries to Vince
    Carter, Jalen Rose and Alvin Williams to get this guy onto the floor for opening
    tip off. And, by the looks of it, the Raptors should have, instead, started with
    four. In 125 minutes this week, he made a total of nine baskets. That's a hoop
    about every 14 minutes with a miss every 5 minutes as Toronto falls to 0-9 since
    February 12.

    Brian Grant, Miami Heat
    Weak work: 0-3 record, 5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.2 spg, 0 bpg, 36.8% shooting

    They used to try an justify his salary by saying he plays solid defense. Well,
    last week he had a grand total of one steal and no blocks. Then they tried to
    justify his salary by pointing at his rebounding numbers. Well, last week he
    played one 30-minute game in which he grabbed a single board. Then, they tried
    to justify his salary by saying he was such a good citizen within the community.
    Well, the winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded 10 million Swedish
    crowns. In U.S. dollars, that's about $1.35 million. Grant made $12.23 million
    this year alone.

    Penny Hardaway, New York Knicks
    Weak work: 0-4 record, 9.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg, 0 bpg, 36.5% shooting

    Nobody averaging less than double-digits and shooting this kind of percentage
    should be getting 10.23 shots per game while averaging only 1.8 assists per game
    to 1.5 turnovers. There was a time we thought of Penny as both point guard and
    shooting guard. Now, he is neither.

    Nick Van Exel, Golden State Warriors
    Weak work: 1-3 record, 7.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4 apg, 0.5 spg, 0 bpg, 29.7% shooting

    Nick is getting paid whether he's bored or not. But let's not forget that in
    Dallas' last 15 games of last season, Van Exel led it in scoring six times (all
    playoff games against the Spurs, Kings and Blazers). This year, as the hapless
    Warriors begin their last 24 games of the season, Van Exel has had a hard enough
    time just reaching double digits twice in the last five games.

    The Ugly

    Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns missed 47 shots while the Knicks missed 46,
    meaning that there were, at least, 93 rebounding opportunities. Of those 46
    offensive rebound opportunities, the Knicks managed only four. Of those 47
    defensive rebounds, New York grabbed only 22.

    Overall, they were outrebounded 58 to 26 by the Suns, meaning that Phoenix
    actually grabbed 32 more rebounds than the Knicks in the same game on the same
    floor using the same ball and the same set of rims.

    By the way, the Suns ended up winning that game by 18 points (113-95) after
    grabbing 19 offensive rebounds.

    The Kitchen Sink

    UNLEADED DIESEL

    Shaquille O'Neal's bark has been much worse than his bite, lately. In fact, it's
    been almost an entire calender year since Shaq has scored 40 points in a single
    game. March 21 of 2003 to be exact. In that same amount of time, Tracy McGrady
    has done it nine times, Allen Iverson seven times, Kobe Bryant four times and
    Tim Duncan twice. And, in case you're wondering, he's only reached the 30-point
    plateau four times this year in 43 games while his rebounding, assist, steal and
    block stats are all below last year's numbers when he was averaging 6.2 more
    points per game.

    AROUND THE HORN

    Turns out, Keith Van Horn just needed a change of scenery. Again. In his
    last year in New Jersey, the forward averaged 14.8 points per game and shot 34
    percent from long range. His next year in Philly, which happened to be his only
    year in Philly, he averaged 15.9 points per game and shot 36 percent from long
    range. He started off this season in New York and averaged 16.4 points per game
    for the Knicks on 37 percent shooting from long range. Then, he was traded to
    Milwaukee where he is now averaging 17.7 points per game and shooting 52 percent
    from long range as the Bucks have won three in a row and are tied with New
    Orleans for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

    FOOL'S GOLD

    During the Nuggets' five-game skid (with losses to the Magic, Heat, Grizzlies,
    Lakers and Spurs), they were outscored in the fourth quarter by a grand total of
    144-105. In the last two games, against Los Angeles and San Antonio, they were
    outscored in the final quarter by a total of 25 points.

    THAT'S JAMAAL WITH A J

    Jamaal Tinsley isn't ever going to win any shooting contests unless, of
    course, he's able to somehow compete against himself. This month, the Pacer
    point guard is shooting 47.3 percent from the field (44-for-93 in 11 games).
    Now, that might be average for some NBA players out there, but it's absolutely
    great for Tinsley. After all, he came into February shooting 37.5 percent from
    the floor after shooting 39 percent last year and 38 percent the year before.
    Even more impressive, though, is the fact that he's shooting 42 percent from
    long range after shooting 28 percent on his career.


    OLD JERSEY NETS

    In their last 15 games against Eastern Conference opponents, the New Jersey Nets
    are 15-0, destroying the competition by an average of 14 points per game. But in
    their last four games against Western Conference opponents, including Sunday
    night's blowout against the Lakers, the Nets are 0-4, getting blown out,
    themselves, by a sobering 16.5 points per game.

    RATTLED

    Last Sunday, the Orlando Magic took 100 shots and 25 free throws compared to the
    Portland Trail Blazers' 80 shots and 20 free throws and still lost by three
    points. And it wasn't because the Blazers shot particularly well at 46 percent
    from the field. Heck, they only shot 62 percent from the line. It was because
    new Blazer center Theo Ratliff blocked a whopping nine shots. Now, you may not
    be surprised that Ratliff continues to lead the league in that category at 3.23
    per game. But you may be surprised that he's blocked nine shots in a single game
    five other times.

    DOUBTING THOMAS

    Tim Thomas, rookie season
    1998: 11 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.2 bpg, 44% from field, 36% from
    three, 74% from line
    Tim Thomas, career numbers
    Six Years: 11.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.4 bpg, 44% from field, 36%
    from three, 76% from line

    SHEED SPECIAL

    Detroit Pistons (38-24) versus Portland Blazers (29-30)
    Thursday, March 4 in Portland, Ore. at 7 p.m. PST on TNT

    It's the return of Rasheed Wallace to the Rose Garden. Do you love him? Do you
    hate him? Does it really matter when the home team needs every win it can get to
    keep alive a consecutive playoff streak that started when 'Sheed was barely
    8-years-old?

    The End

    "Listen, kiss my (butt). Coach your own team, don't be calling me up. I'll be
    all right. I've been through a few of these before. I don't really want to hear
    from anybody, going well or going bad, because it's all (garbage) anyway, unless
    they're really your friend."

    Toronto head coach Kevin O'Neill waiting for the next telemarketer to call on
    his long distance plan after his team lost its ninth game in a row.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  3. #3
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    Default Re: 2004-03-01

    Friday, February 27, 2004
    Are Knicks still one player away?


    By Greg Anthony
    ESPN Insider

    It already feels like the playoffs have begun, and in a lot of ways they have.
    In the East, the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers are surging, while the
    Knicks, Raptors, 76ers and Celtics are floundering. And in the West, home-court
    advantage in the first round could determine whether a team goes to the Finals
    or starts making tee-times.

    Let's get to the e-mail:

    Dan from New York writes,

    First, props. In my mind, you are becoming, along with David Aldridge and
    baseball's Peter Gammons, one of the most insightful, knowledgeable and
    articulate people in sports broadcasting today ... looking forward to watching
    you for many years to come.

    Now for my question/comment: I am a New Yorker and have been thrilled at the
    moves Isiah Thomas has made ... except the Keith Van Horn trade ... jury is
    still out on that one. But I still don't see the Knicks as a contender unless
    they can pick up a truly dominating big man. What moves do you see them making
    before next year, if Rasheed Wallace stays in Detroit?

    A: There has to be concern with the trading of Van Horn, because he was playing
    the best basketball of his career, in my eyes. However, as Isiah stated, this
    move was not just about this season, but also the future, and it was done not
    just for Tim Thomas but also Nazr Mohammed.

    The real issue for the Knicks is the health of Allan Houston, and now Thomas.
    They should still make the playoffs, and, depending on how successful the
    Pistons are in the playoffs, will have a shot at Rasheed in the offseason.

    James Brown from Virginia asks,

    Will the Hornets make a run at Dion Glover? It would make sense, because they
    have needed a scoring big guard for years.

    A: I think it would make sense, because they not only could use some offense off
    the bench from that position, but more importantly an athletic defender who is a
    legit two guard. It would not cost them much, and there is really no downside if
    it doesn't work. This is another team that has to find a way to get out of the
    second round.

    Eddy in Toronto writes,

    ESPN rarely talks about the Raptors. Even though I'm a loyal Raps fans, I have
    to admit this team is stuck without any direction. They want to be a contending
    team in the East, but they can't. After the loss Wednesday to Washington, I'm
    wondering if they'll make the playoffs this year. They should rebuild the team
    and shouldn't rely on Vince Carter anymore. Vince isn't Mike. I'm afraid he's
    turning out to be another Penny or Grant Hill.

    A: Injuries certainly have hurt Vince and the Raptors, and there are rumblings
    the coaching staff is not enamored with Vince as a player. But he still sells
    out whenever he plays, and that will be a factor in whether or not management
    pulls the trigger on a trade.

    But while this team has been unlucky with all the injuries, it also has other
    personnel concerns -- no true point guard or center, and an inability to shoot
    from the perimeter. There also are concerns with the coaching staff and in the
    front office, as well. There is no quick fix here. Stay tuned.

    Rob from New Jersey asks,

    How long do you think the rebuilding process will take in Orlando? Do you see
    them being a contender in the playoffs next year?

    A: First, I think a lot will be determined over the next six weeks, in terms of
    how they finish the season. They have to get the taste of losing out of their
    system and be able to evaluate their talent base when there has been some
    success.

    Also, they want to finish strong to ensure that either T-Mac decides to stay or,
    if he wants out, they can pull a trade for some established talent that can help
    them win now. In the East, one or two players could be the difference in being a
    contender or being at the bottom of the barrel.

    Thanks for the e-mail. Let's have some fun as we head for the home stretch.
    Greg Anthony, a veteran of 11 NBA seasons, is a regular contributor to ESPN
    Insider.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  4. #4
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    Default Re: 2004-03-01

    Peep Show
    NBA Insider
    Monday, March 1
    Updated: March 1
    8:43 AM ET


    Washington Wizards: Not so fast Jerry Stackhouse. "He's going to go
    get everything checked out and make sure that everything, structurally, is
    sound," said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld after Stack voluntarily quit on
    the rest of the season.. "He's going to go and get therapy and we'll evaluate it
    after that. Our number one concern is that he feels good health-wise." The
    bottom line, though, was that the shooting guard wasn't going to get an early
    vacation. "It's trying to come up with a plan," Stackhouse said in the
    Washington Post. "If that's to be in rehab or whatever or trying to find a
    schedule, that works from a standpoint of rest from games and practicing and
    doing rehab and everything to where I feel good. You do what people ask you to
    do . . . I'm still basically on the clock and that's what I have to do and we'll
    see and go from there."

    Philadelphia 76ers: Allen Iverson didn't show up to Sunday night's game, didn't
    call head coach Chris Ford as required, and didn't seem to care that the two
    were about to get into it again. "There will be something levied for that," Ford
    said in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "There are rules in our handbook that was
    handed down at the beginning of the season, not my rules but the organizational
    rules. There are guidelines that are handed down." Iverson wasn't scheduled to
    play because of a sore shoulder as the Sixers upset the Timberwolves, but he was
    expected to be on the bench even if he was claiming to be sick.

    Los Angeles Lakers: The basketball drama in Los Angeles has reached biblical
    proportions. Just ask Phil Jackson. "People don't understand, they're like
    brothers," the Zen Master said of Shaq and Kobe in the L.A. Daily News. "They're
    like Cain and Abel, they're just scrumming over the blood and the fruit. You
    know, who's going to have which sacrifice that means the most to God. So they
    have their little disagreements, but they are very attached in each other's
    minds and in the team way, too. I think both of them have been together for long
    enough to have adopted each other's plights and their cares. And sometimes their
    concern does get personal, but that's normal things that you have in a family."
    And about Gary Payton . . . "He's got to find out how to work inside of my
    offense, inside the team offense," Jackson said of an upcoming meeting with the
    point guard. "That's something that's taken players a long time, and it's not
    unusual that a player is going to have a little difficulty. He'll find his way
    around it."

    Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade didn't feel any pain in his left foot after a fall
    in Sunday night's game and that's what worried him. "My foot was very numb,"
    Wade said in the Palm Beach Post. "Once I got the feeling back I knew that it
    wasn't good. I knew it was hurting real bad. I still tried to come out and play.
    Once I know it's not broken I'm always trying to come back." X-rays were
    negative but it is still not known if he will play against Toronto on Tuesday.

    Denver Nuggets: Marcus Camby refused to go on injured reserve and head coach
    Jeff Bzdelik refused to comment on it publicly. "Next question," the visibly
    upset coach told the Denver Post. Camby was unable to play Sunday night with a
    strained groin and isn't sure when he'll be back on the floor. Because of that,
    the Nuggets asked him to go on the five-game disabled list so that they could
    activate big man Francisco Elson. Camby refused, forcing the Nuggets to put Ryan
    Bowen on the injured list to activate Elson. "I have to look out for myself,"
    Camby said. "I've been playing the last couple of games on a bad wheel."

    Cleveland Cavaliers: Dajuan Wagner didn't make a bucket in the Cavs latest game
    but what worried the team was that he didn't even take a shot. "He's got to
    figure it out," head coach Paul Silas said in the Lorraine Morning News. "He's
    got to shoot the jumper. We need his production." Silas admitted, though, that
    he believed his oft-injured guard may need until next season to be back to his
    former self.

    Stackhouse's Season Isn't Over Just Yet
    Steve Wyche / Washington Post

    Round 2: Ford upset with Iverson
    Joe Juliano / Philadelphia Inquirer

    Jackson puts onus on Payton
    Howard Beck / Los Angeles Daily News

    Wade sprains foot in crash to floor
    Chris Perkins / Palm Beach Post

    Camby shuns spot on injured list
    Marc J. Spears / Denver Post

    Wagner may yet be a year away
    Bob Finnan / Lorain Morning Journal
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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