End of the Bench, Volume 2.10
All-Star Weekend has arrived, which means you need to sharpen your senses and clear your mind, so you can tell your grandkids exactly where you were when Vinny from “Jersey Shore” used a screen from Tankia Catchings to get enough space to launch a jumper over Common, while Penny Hardaway positioned himself for the rebound. Yes, it’s hard to put a price on entertainment like that.
The All-Star break brings us to the halfway point of the season, and there’s been plenty to like so far (unless of course you’re a Bobcats fan, in which case you’re already saving money for your Anthony Davis replica jersey). With a few days to catch our breath, let’s catch up on the latest from around the league. Pull up a seat, and we’ll review it all from the best seat in the house.
– The three-day barrage of All-Star festivities will no doubt bring the tired, predictable hand-wringing from columnists about whether the dunk contest should be abolished. Here’s an idea…if you don’t like it, don’t watch. Sure, the contest typically is more hype than substance, and we’re unlikely to relive the glory days of Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb or even Vince Carter. So what? If you can’t simply enjoy watching amazing athletes do things that very few people can do, than find something else to watch. I’m looking at you, Jemele Hill.
– Houston Rocket GM Daryl Morey is generally regarded as one of the smartest front-office officials in the league, especially regarding his use of basketball metrics in building a roster. Well, he very well may be, but that doesn’t explain why he currently has four lottery picks from 2009 on his roster, who are giving him a combined 14.6 points per game. Maybe he needs to see Moneyball again.
– Blake Griffin continues to show a startling lack of respect for gravity.
– Have we seen the last of Greg Oden? The oft-injured Blazers center recently underwent his third microfracture surgery, and will again miss the entire season. Since being drafted (ahead of Kevin Durant) in 2007, Oden has played in only 82 total games, and by the end of this year, will have missed 79% of Portland’s games in that period. It’s a shame, as Oden not only had a ton of potential, but always came off as very humble and likable. Here’s to a quick recovery for the big fella, and let’s hope we get to see him on the court next season.
– Lost among the Jeremy Lin hoopla and the fawning over Derrick Rose is the fact that Deron Williams is still a pretty darn good point guard, as Lin and the Knicks found out this week.
– On the other hand, Carrie Underwood should never be overlooked.
– The Thunder enter the break at 26-7 and feature a pair of All-Stars who, between them, have hit the 30-point mark 23 times this season. But the really scary thing? Only seven teams have played fewer home games than Oklahoma City, and they enter the break with a 15-1 home record. Expect a big second half of the season from the boys from OKC.
– For the record, EOTB is a big fan of the new Team USA uniforms. I’m already counting down the time until the 2012 Olympics.
– EOTB hopes that Steve Novak is reading this (and why wouldn’t he be?), so he realizes how foolish he looks doing the championship belt celebration after a made three-pointer. First off, assuming this is even a cool celebration (and that’s a big leap), shouldn’t you have to be a good player to do this? It’s one thing for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to do it – he’s an MVP, a Super Bowl champion and arguably the best player in his sport. You’re maybe - maybe - the ninth-best player on a team that’s a game under .500. So from now on, let’s just run back down the court after a made shot, okay?
– And finally, in an homage to this weekend’s dunk contest, here’s a look back at the Vince Carter show from 2000. In terms of hype, anticipation and crowd energy, Vince’s first dunk may never be topped.