What to make of the recent Charlie Villanueva-Kevin Garnett brouhaha?
It’s well known that Villanueva charged that Garnett called him “a cancer patient,” while KG reported that what he did say was that Villanueva was “cancerous” to his team and the league in general. And, backed by Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge, the issue seemed to be settled.
But I have a question: What exactly did Garnett mean in his comeback comment? Precisely how are Villanueva’s game, personality, hairlessness and/or whatever destroying not only the Detroit Pistons but also the NBA?
It seems to me Garnett’s response was a pathetic attempt to include the word “cancerous” in his public retort. Even though KG is a 17-year veteran, he continues to conduct himself like a knuckleheaded rookie on too many occasions.
BARON NOT HURTING FOR EXCUSES
Suddenly Baron Davis has let it be known his knee has been hurting since 2007. How, then, to explain his shooting 40.6 percent when his knee was pain free and 41.2 percent thereafter? And why did he wait so long before enlightening the general public?
However, speaking of “hurting,” here’s what a member of the New Orleans organization told me in 2005 after Davis was traded to Golden State: “We’re delighted to get rid of him, but what we can’t figure out is why anybody would want this guy. Sooner or later, Davis’ me-first-last-and-always attitude is going to hurt whatever team he’s on.”
DO HEAT KNOW THEY GOT BOSH SPICE?
I’ve never liked Chris Bosh’s game — especially his bogus defense and his sticky fingers. But after watching him with the Heat, I’m surprised by how soft he is.
The 6-foot-10 Bosh is averaging 5.4 rebounds per game, or, more significantly, one rebound every 5.9 minutes. Compare this stat to Dwyane Wade’s nabbing one rebound every 5.2 minutes (and 6.4 per game). Zydrunas Ilgauskas gets one every 3.5 minutes, Udonis Haslem one every 3.0, Joel Anthony one every 4.5. Even Jamaal Magloire in limited playing time averages a rebound every 2.4 minutes.
NBA centers are expected to average at least one rebound every 3 minutes; for power forwards it’s every 4 minutes and for small forwards it’s 5. In other words, Bosh’s rebounding would be subpar even if he were a wingman.
Moreover, one reason the Heat lost to the Hornets last week was that, in his 34 minutes of daylight, Bosh came down with just a single rebound. That’s point guard territory.
Pat Riley had better do something ASAP to plug the gaping hole in the middle of Miami’s donut defense. Another reason the Heat fell to the Hornets was that Emeka Okafor, New Orleans’ journeyman center, scored 26 points on 12-of-13 shooting and snatched 13 rebounds. And then Miami gave up 46 to Jazz power forward Paul Millsap in another loss Tuesday night.
HAWES A TRUE DOUBLE ZERO
Back in the late 1940s and early ‘50s, George Mikan’s uniform number with the Minneapolis Lakers was 99. And having the highest number possible was absolutely appropriate because Mikan was by far the league’s best player. By the same selective logic it’s also appropriate that Spencer Hawes wear 00.
Yes, yes, Robert Parish also wore double zero, but that undoubtedly reflected his place behind Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in Boston’s initial version of the Big Three.
And, of course, Gilbert Arenas wears 0 — but this has something to do with his basketball IQ.
NOT EXACTLY THUNDERSTRUCK
From what I’ve seen of the Thunder this season, they’re running much more one-on-one offense. Also, Kevin Durant rarely uses a screen and is putting up an increasing number of too-quick shots. Perhaps that’s why he’s shooting a mere 39.4 percent, down from his career 46.2.
And he hasn’t yet faced the bump-and-grind defense of Ron Artest.
Over the course of the eight seasons that Steve Nash was feeding cookies to Amar’e Stoudemire, the big man shot 54.4 percent. Working with Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas, Stoudemire’s accuracy has fallen to 42 percent. The point being that Nash made Stoudemire a better player than he really is. Which is what point guards are supposed to do.
Even though he was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to return to the T-Wolves, Darko Milicic still is playing like a blind man groping his way around a dark room.
RAVES: MY FAVORITE PLAYERS
Now comes the “raves” section. Although I am somewhat disappointed by his failure to develop his defensive game, Ersan Ilysova remains one of my favorite players. The Bucks forward had a season-high 15 points and 7 rebounds last week at Boston.
I’m also raving about Landry Fields. Even though just the other day Louis Williams suckered the Knicks forward into committing a pair of fouls while the Sixers speedster was in the act beyond the pale. An understandable rookie mistake. Otherwise, Fields has a complete game and a genius-level hoops IQ. As he continues to absorb the fine points of NBA action, Fields eventually will be one of the unsung heroes in the Knicks’ inevitable return to semi-respectability.
NO TOPPING LAKERS’ PASSING GAME
Sacramento (13.33) and Detroit (13.29) currently average the fewest turnovers — which only serves to demonstrate how deceptive numbers really can be. New Orleans is next with 13.5 and the Lakers fourth best with 13.57.
Even so, the Lakers are by far the most accomplished passing squad in the league. (Boston averages more assists due to the efforts of Rajon Rondo. San Antonio likewise ranks ahead of the Lakers in this category, but the Spurs are much more turnover prone — 16.33.)
There are two main reasons the Lakers are at the top of my list: The triangle offense leads to incredibly efficient off-the-ball movement, which produces an unsurpassed number of unattended cutters. And also because Pau Gasol (5.0 assists per game) and Lamar Odom (3.4) are exceptional passers for big men.