Well I might as well deal with the pink elephant in the room right up front.
Other than a few small snippets here & there I have kept pretty quiet about the entire Jackson incident. I guess now is as good a time as any to weigh in on the subject.
Like many of you I was stunned when I first heard the news, in fact I thought it was a joke. But much to my dismay I quickly learned that this was all to real.
As news bits started to leak out the forum started to quickly devide & as one of our nations founding fathers said "Passion began to govern & she never governs wisely".
To many people started to get to hung up on whatever their point of view was & quickly the lines were drawn. Ironicly if you notice the deviding lines were almost identical here as they were a year ago when we were dealing with Artest.
So I spent the first few days of this trying my best just to keep threads merged & not let the forum descend into being nothing but the Stephen Jackson digest.
I'll just say this about the entire thing. It makes me ill.
I'm serious, it makes me ill because of what should have been & now what it is & sadly what it will become.
We should have been excited about the upcoming season with a new revamped roster with the verbal commitment from management to see real and significant change.
What we have is daily news berbs about the entire fiasco. It's like chinese water torture, it just keeps coming slowly but surely every time.
What we will have, for at least awhile, is a team that will once again be beset upon by questions other than how they are playing on the floor.
This is sad, truely sad.
I don't blame Jackson & company for being in an adult establishment. It is a perfectly leagle activity & while I don't choose to go there that does not mean that nobody else can.
I don't blame Jackson for being out late on a practice night. The team does not have a curfue & I guess they let the players police (no pun intended) themselves. I'm not saying I'm happy about it & in fact I wish they wouldn't have but again no rule was broken here.
I don't blame Jackson for carrying a gun. In fact I applaude him for having the proper permits to carry it, not everybody goes through the trouble.
I wouldn't have even blamed Jackson at all if he was trying to defend his own life or even someone else's.
However as is coming out, what I've been hearing for awhile now seems to be true. That Jackson did not just fire the gun in the air after being struck by the car.
Here is the damning part about this entire episode for Jackson with me. He went to his car to retrieve his gun. I'll say that again so it sinks in, he went to his car to retrieve his gun.
Here let me let Brizzi say it for you again.
"After the fight started, (Jackson) went to his car, retrieved his handgun and put it on his hip," Brizzi said. "He walked over to where a handicapped person was on the ground getting stomped and beaten, kicked that person, then drew his gun and fired one to three shots into the air."
Why is this so important? Because if as Jackson & crew were saying that all they were trying to do was get away then right there & then all he had to have done would have been to put the key in the ignition & drive away or at the very least use the cell phone I know he has in his car or on him to call 911 from the relative safety of his vehicle.
But no, he had to make sure that during a fight he had to go retrive a deadly weapon. I guess for everyones sake we should just be glad there was no dustpan around for Jamaal to grab or it really would have gone downhill.
I'm sorry guys but at this point in time getting your gun & flashing it no longer counts as self defense.
I haven't even began to talk about hitting a man while he was on the ground, which the other sad irony here is that Jermaine O'Neal is in court in MI right now for the same thing.
Snap, Daniels & even Tinsley get a break here because other than the weed in J.T.'s car it doesn't appear that any of them did anything other than be there.
Jackson has even admitted to changing his story, that's a polite way of saying "I lied" btw.
Like I said it sickens me to no end to even have to talk about this on the first night of the pre-seasaon. A season that looked so very hopefull for me.
Heck I even had made the commitment that I was going to give everybody on the team a fresh chance (including Jackson & Tinsley). But that has all changed now.
I know Jax will be back, there is just no way the Pacers are going to be able to trade the guy, so unless there is some way to void his contract I can't see how he will be gone anytime soon. Unless the Pacers give him a paid vacation, which they did for this game last night because he was not on the bench.
It's just sad, that's all I am going to say about that in this post.
Ok, let's move on.
As usual I couldn't get to the game on time, this time we were really late & I missed the entire first quarter. So I never even got to see Daniels play so somebody fill me in on him.
A quick question, with the new restraunt Legends on the one end does that mean that DJ Paul B is gone? Where he was set up is now two serving tables? I'm just curious.
Well the offense moved a little more smoothly but I want to see it work when J.O. is in there. I've seen it move well before without him but it seems to bog down whenever he entered the game. I'll watch that more closely this weekend.
On a team note though there were some very interesting things that happened in the 3rd & 4th quarters.
First we went big, I mean real big.
Orien Green at p.g. Danny Granger at the S.G. Shawne Williams at the s.f. Maceo Baston at the P.F. & David Harrison at the C.
That is a huge lineup. Just for those of you that didn't see it, it did work as well. When they brought in Marshall for Harrison & played Baston at C it worked even more but going big was a nice change considering what we've seen for years.
Secondly, this team is more physical than teams we've had in recent years. Powell, Harrington, Baston, Harrison & even to a degree Williams all body up on defense in the paint area.
Thirdly we ARE more athletic than I can remember us being. In fact I think this may be the most athletic lineup I've ever seen on the team.
Fourth if you are concerned about defense, I'm not sure your barking up the right tree yet. Like I said, first game of pre-season so this may change & they certianly were not playing against Kidd & Carter but they did apply the pressure (including a full court press).
Now let's look at some of the individual games.
I think because people have been so badly burned by Jon Bender that they automatically started downplaying Shawne Williams. Making sure to point out that his game is not developed etc., etc..
Well I'm here to tell you now that I think Williams is going to suprise people. I'm not saying he is going to be a R.O.Y. candidate or anything like that. But I think he will be a solid contributer on our team before the season is over.
Also as Danny Granger to me is the prototypical small forward, Shawne looks like he will be a true power forward. He is much thicker & more muscular than what I had been led to believe. Also, while I'm not trying to pick on Bender I can't help but want to end any comparrisons. Watching Williams on the floor for five min. showed me that he is already more developed as a player than Jon was for about 3 years into his career.
Josh Powell is everything I like in a player. He's tough, he doesn't shy from contact, he is a physical rebounder & he plays solid defense. As far as I'm concerned he not only needs to make the team but he makes me think that somebody else is expendable. Two big thumbs up for the one game I've seen him play so far.
Maceo Baston had me on my feet with that missed dunk he had. Good lord that would have been huge had he got that one to go down. I guess this isn't the same old Baston that I remember years ago, this guy has game. He also played much more physical in the post than I ever thought he would.
Danny got into foul trouble but in the second half whenever he had the ball he could just get his shot off anytime anywhere which is saying something cause a lot of times he was going against Jefferson. He played some at the two guard which I didn't like but going that big did help us so if that's the plan I can live with it.
Harrison definately has lost any of the fat that was holding him down. He was very active as a shot blocker, which he always has been. His offense did not seem as smooth as normal but again it's just game one of the pre-season. He still made to many faces & had something to say whenever the refs would call something on him so I just don't know how that is going to go over this season with the fans. Also he got called for a delay of game warning for his shirt being out. They gave him two warnings for this prior to giving him the warning btw.
Saras was a mixed bag of nuts, actually our entire p.g. staff was this way for the part of the game I saw. On the one hand his passing in the open court is as good as anybody out there & his abiltiy to hit players close to the basket is outstanding. On the other hand his shooting & ball handling looked worse than last season if you can beleive that. Again though just one game into the pre-season.
Jamaal must have had a really good first quarter because what I saw in the second half was less than lackluster. Again though just first game in the pre-season so no real judgements to be passed here.
Greene is a defensive minded p.g. that is for sure & his passing while not spectacular is at least proficiant. If the choice is between him & Snap, based on last nights game anyway I'd say Greene should stay.
Marshall at first left me with no impression but as the night went on the better he go & in the 4th quarter he was a big part of the reason we took the lead & took off with it. Very skinny guy btw. Decent shot & he does apply some pressure on defense although I don't think anyone will confuse him for Artest any time soon. Oh wait that is reason enough right there to keep him.
And now for no reason it's peanut butter jelly time!!!!!
With a dash of fruit.
Ok where was I??
Oh yea James White.
Hmmm....some nice on the ball defense but overall it was kind of a nothing first outing. However again, first outing being the key here.
What was the one big change though that I saw in this entire group that I haven't seen is awhile?
Everybody was hitting the boards & hitting them hard. When we had that big lineup in there I think we collected about 80% of the rebounds. No, I don't know that for fact but that's what it felt like.
Chuck Person was very very very vocal & active on the sidelines last night. Much more so than last season.
I'll quit now.
Other than the one down side that we all know about I think this up coming season looks pretty good.
What the hell is wrong with me????
I forgot to talk about Al.
Well first off the Mohawk was a nice gimmick but it has got to go. Other than taking a few stupid shots & his horrid display of freethrow shooting Al was great.
At one time the Diamond one remarked that he looked somewhat Barklyesque out there when he grabbed a board & ran it past half court & dished for an assist.
Whenever he & Powell were in there together, which actually was a very short time, they were putting the hurt on the N.J. big men. While they lack some height, both of these guys play very physical.
It was fun to have him back & I only wish I could have heard the opening cheers for him.