- Listen up, NBA-TV. It's one thing to have Cheryl Miller bouncing around the sidelines for TNT asking pointless questions at halftime and after the game. That's minimally invasive. But the decision to put her in your studio, where she is expected to offer coherent and insightful analysis, is simply way, way, wayyyy, over the line. I mean, have you heard her lately?? Her game is so limited that she makes Kenny Smith seem like Billy Shakespeare. Here is a general idea of what a Cheryl Miller highlight narration sounds like. In this scene, Matt Winer will be doing the highlights, and let's say it's a couple of Ok. City Thunder clips.
WINER: Third quarter, Thunder up 12, and here comes Kevin Durant down the lane for a nasty one-handed flush in traffic.
CHERYL: (All capitals, since I have yet to hear her do any highlight without shrieking) UH-OHH! IT'S THE "DURANTULA!!"
WINER: (After a long pause) Moving on, under a minute to go in the game, Thunder with the basketball, and it's Jeff Green with a nifty spin move for the easy deuce.
CHERYL: OHHH, DON'T DO IT TO 'EM J-GREEEEN!! DO NOT DO IT!!!!
WINER: (Longer pause...searching for a response...clearly shaken) Let's just go to a commercial.
Throw in the high-pitched shrill that she picked up from her brother Reggie, and it is just about impossible to watch the late-night NBA wrap-up without wanting to rip the TV out of the wall and fire it against the wall. Hey, but at least she's attractive. Ya know, if you're into that whole Larry Fitzgerald-Troy Hudson kinda thing...
- If a player has attempted more than 200 three-pointers thus far in the season, one can probably assume that said player is a pretty decent shooter from out there. Otherwise, why would the guy be hoisting so many? After a little research, we see that 30 players have attempted more than 200 bombs on the year. 28 of the 30 are hitting at least 30% of these shots, leaving us with two offending players. Take a realllly wild guess who they could be. Seriously...stop right now and try to think of the two guys. You should be able to come up with them. Alright, time's up.
One is obviously our good friend Baron Davis (202 3s taken, 28%), a player that has never developed a consistent stroke from deep, and amazingly enough, has never realized this part of his game should have been completely eliminated years ago. If you wanna be real sick, take a look back at Baron's 2003-04 season in New Orleans. He appeared in just 67 games, but still mustered up enough strength for a league-leading 582 hammer throws from three-point land. That comes out to a stomach-churning 8.7 trey attempts per game; clearly not the most efficient offensive option when those shots were finding the nets just 32% of the time.
The other guilty party is none other than Rasheed Wallace (214 3s taken, 29%). Announcers and fans still love to classify Sheed as some kind of "dual threat" power forward that is as deadly on the block as he is from 23 feet. Newsflash: the guy hasn't operated out of the block in a good 10 years, and hasn't hit a late-game 3 in, well, ever. What you were thinking, Danny Ainge? You knew last summer that your creaky squad probably only had one more good run in it, and you decide to murder their chances by adding quite possibly the most overrated and least intelligent player in the league over the last five years?? You'd have been better off signing Jayson Williams. And he's an actual murderer.
- With Shannon Brown playing an integral role in the Lakers' quest for a second consecutive championship, it makes you wonder: how come Maurice Ager couldn't have had a similar NBA career? When they were hoopin' in East Lansing, both had very similar games. Tremendous athleticism, great in the open court, and a better than average shot from deep. If anything, Ager might have been a tad more polished offensively. But somehow, Ager never seemed to get a true shot to showcase his skills, and before you knew it, he was chewed up and spit out the NBA roster book. He is now playing overseas while Shannon continues to improve under the tutelage of Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. You gotta think that Mo lies awake some nights in Spain watching the Lakers on the tube, seeing Shannon throw down another vicious jam, just thinking to himself, "That should be me wearin' the purple and gold." One of those funny basketball mysteries that might never be fully explained.
- Inappropriate NBA trivia question of the day: What's longer, Kevin Durant's right arm or Greg Oden's, ummm, "middle" arm???
- The Pistons' starting backcourt of Rodney Stuckey and Rip Hamilton managed to play 56 combined minutes Friday night against Indiana without recording a single assist. As Steve Lavin would say, way to "Share the sugar," fellas!
- HSL Nerdy, but Cool Stat of the Week
Shawn Marion (in his three seasons with Steve Nash) averaged 97 3s a year.
Shawn Marion (in 47 games this season, no Nash) has hit one three-pointer.
- Michael Beasley definitely has some flavor in terms of his offensive arsenal, but my man needs to develop a little bit of a mean streak to become a real weapon alongside D-Wade for the Heat. In a recent game, I saw Brad Miller body him up a few times, grab some offensive boards, and the look on Beasley's face was one that said, "Jeez Brad, do you have to play that hard? You almost messed up one of my cornrows!!"
- After his breakout 13 point, 6 rebound performance Saturday night against New Jersey, Jason Maxiell told reporters after the game that he is "trying to take his game to the next level." Eaaaaasy there, Big Fella. Look Max, I've always been a fan of yours and admire the hard work you generally put in, but whaddya say we call this performance what it really was (a minor miracle) and move on to the next game? This is your fifth year with the Stones, sir, and I'm not sure I have seen your game change one iota. You attack the offensive glass with hunger, smash home some of the hardest dunks in all the land, and continue to shoot middle-school percentages (career 57%) from the line. That's who you are, and it's who you will always be. So spare us this "Next Level" hype, J. I've seen that act before, and believe me, the reality never lives up to the original prediction.
If you don't believe me, go talk to former Pistons forward (and longtime high-socker), Mikki Moore. Going into each off-season, Mikki would talk about how he was really going to dedicate himself and work his tail off to become a legitimate threat from downtown. He had this bizarre vision in his head where he would become some kind of giant 7-foot small forward that could be a threat from anywhere on the floor, while also blocking shots and doing the necessary big person stuff inside. Needless to say, Mikki has now logged over 10,000 minutes in the NBA and buried exactly two shots from beyond the arc, while changing teams somewhere in the neighborhood of 37 times in the last five years.
But by all means, Mr. Maxiell, go ahead and make that leap to the "next level." We believe in you. We really do. Phhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
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