Friday, February 26, 2010

Scary Free Throws, Frisky Bucks, and Another Lottery Dud: It's the HSL Friday 3-Man Weave

1. While Ben Wallace continues to rank dead last all-time in free throw shooting accuracy, there is another brick-throwing NBA center that is making a real push for the single season record for charity stripe proficiency. Andris Biedrins, the athletic Latvian for the Warriors, has been nothing short of horrrrrendous at the line this year. Try and swallow this stat box with your morning coffee. On the season, Biedrins is a stomach-churning 4 for 25 from the land of free. FOUR FOR TWENTY-FIVE!! This comes out to a robust 16 friggin' percent. Yiiiiiiikes. The single season record is held by the Celtics' Garfield Smith in '72, and he still managed to knock home 19%. Practically automatic compared to our boy Andris, who if you haven't seen it, basically goes with some kind of fractured soccer style throw-in when trying to cash in his attempts. Don Nelson tried bringing in Rick Barry (career 90%) to teach his underhand method to Biedrins, but the big fella was not cooperative. Not "cool" enough, apparently. But if this sick display continues for a couple more months, Biedrins might find out what "cool" really is next year...when he's suiting up alongside Billy Owens and Mr. Cooper for the Brotherhood II chapter in the downtown Oakland B'nai B'rith League for retired Jewish foot doctors and former NBA washouts. If I were you, I'd start hittin' some free throws, Andris...immediately.

2. The Milwaukee Bucks emerged from the All-Star break as a sub-.500 squad searching for some kind of identity. They sputtered badly in their first game back, suffering a 28-point home thrashing at the hands of the Rockets. Things weren't looking good for Scott Skiles and company. Fortunately for the Bucks, their next game was at the Palace against the Pistons, a team that plays with passion approximately two to three times a month. They got the much-needed road W and haven't lost since. After last night's escape job in Indy, the Milwaukee winning streak has now reached five and they are over .500 (29-28) for the first time in three months. It's not a glamorous group by any means, but they're getting the job done. Andrew Bogut has been a monster of late, and for the first time in his career, is actually starting to provide some justification for being #1 overall selection in 2005. John Salmons has been superb since coming over from Chicago at the trade deadline, and rumor has it that he might finally be considering making the "L" in his last name silent. The old dog Jerry Stackhouse has been a splash of sunshine off the bench, mixing in his usual batch of post-ups with an improved stroke from downtown. And lucky Luke Ridnour just might be the best backup point guard in the league. Even though Brandon Jennings hit the rookie wall about 35 games ago and Carlos Delfino takes the word "streaky" to a whole new stratosphere, this is still a fun little squad and I look forward to watching them come playoff time. And no, I cannot figure out how this unique batch of journeymen and young guys are fighting for the 6th spot in the East, while the Pistons continue to lose double-digit leads to the LA Clippers of the world. When's that draft lottery, again??

3. Not everyday in the Association that you see the second overall pick demoted to the D-League, but that's exactly what happened yesterday as the Memphis Grizzlies sent Hasheem Thabeet packing to the "Dakota" Wizards. Not North Dakota. Not South Dakota. Just Dakota...a real hotbed for hoops. Nice pick, Grizz. On draft night, maybe you shoulda looked past the fact that your boy was eight feet tall and instead concentrated on the fact that he never made a shot outside of eight feet in his entire career at UCONN. You can get away with that kinda thing in college. Hang out near the rim, get a lot of dunks, shoot over guys half a foot shorter. But in the NBA, you usually need to possess some semblance of actual basketball skill in order to succeed. Sadly, Thabeet is sorely lacking in that department, and has fallen on such hard times that he has now been replaced in the Memphis lineup by an actual Iranian, Hamed Haddadi, the only such player in league history. I think it's safe to say that if the organization chooses to play a guy that may or may not be friends with Osama Bin Laden over you, then your days in the league are most likely coming to an end very soon. Enjoy "Dakota," Hasheem, and give my best to Mount Rushmore. You never day you might find yourself on a monument just like it dedicated to the tallest lottery busts in history, along with Robert Swift, Vitaly Potapenko (taken right before Kobe Bryant), Sharone Wright, and the wildly overhyped Ricky Roe.

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