One column and one story caught my eye over the past 24 hours, so I thought I’d roll my reactions into one post.
Yesterday, the New York Post reported that Chris Webber was almost a Knick, and may still become one. This is a perfect fit, if you ask me. Isiah Thomas is hell-bent on making the Knicks the worst team in the league, and Webber would’ve been an ideal addition to that sad, sad team. He and Eddy Curry would’ve pushed each other for the honor of worst interior defender. The reason Webber wants to go to New York seems obvious: Isiah Thomas lets his players walk all over him. Webber could rule the roost in NY, completely forego conditioning, take a night off whenever he wants, and basically coast into retirement without any real pressure to win.
The rumored trade would’ve sent Quentin Richardson and Malik Rose to the Sixers, but there was no way Billy King was taking on those horrible contracts for mediocre talent, at best. Webber chose to go to Detroit after being bought out of his contract because that seemed like the most likely place for him to piggy-back on the work of others to maybe earn a ring before he retires. After a month or so of rejuvenated play, using mostly smoke and mirrors, Webber has again turned into a pumpkin for the Pistons, and if they rely on him for heavy minutes in the playoffs, they won’t make the finals.
I expect the Knicks to use their mid-level exemption to bring Webber to NY in the off season, mainly because it makes no basketball sense, and those are the favorite types of moves for Isiah.
And now, the column. Stephen A. Smith turned in another hatchet job on the Sixers today. In a surprising turn of events, he called the coaching job Mo Cheeks has done this year, “marvelous.” Then went on to say that the Sixers shouldn’t be winning. This is ground-breaking stuff.
Smith’s contention is that the Sixers had a pass to lose every single game, so they should’ve done so, for our own good Sixers fans. Cheeks should’ve thrown his young players to the wolves, this would’ve given them the best chance at a real game-changing talent like Greg Oden or Kevin Durant.
OK, so no original thought there. Everyone and their grandmother has been talking about this since the All Star break. Smith is a firm believer that a team needs a Kobe Bryant-type to be relevant in this league. That “playing the right way” won’t win you anything. Of course, there is a team that has the prototypical “Kobe Bryant-type” playing right now. They’re called the Los Angeles Lakers, and they’re limping into the playoffs as we speak. With that superstar that Smith so desperately wants in Philly so he can attach himself to said superstar like a remora, the Los Angeles Lakers are exactly 1 game over .500 this year. Since Allen Iverson’s trade, the Sixers are exactly 1 game over .500 this year.
What’s the problem in L.A.? Everyone loves to say it’s lack of talent, but there is some talent there. In fact, the players surrounding Kobe are probably equal, or at least comparable, to the players surrounding Andre Iguodala in Philly, the difference is that in Philly the Sixers are “playing the right way.” God forbid.
Smith goes a step further with his “logic” saying that teams in the past have done the right thing, and tanked a season for the prize of the first pick. His examples:
- The Knicks with Patrick Ewing. Result: 0 Rings.
- The Magic with Shaq. Result: 0 Rings.
- The Spurs with David Robinson. Result: 0 Rings until…
- The Spurs did it again with Tim Duncan. Result: 2 rings.
So, using Smith’s own argument as a blueprint, the Sixers should tank this season so they have a chance to draft a center who will only bring them a championship if they tank another season a couple of years down the road to get another dominant center, and then we’ll be talking a parade on Broad Street.
Of course, Smith doesn’t talk about how monumental tank jobs have failed in the past either. The Celts tanked the same year Duncan was coming out, lost the lottery and wound up with Antoine Walker. How’d that work out for you Celtics fans?
I find it troubling that Smith didn’t even mention Andre Iguodala’s name in his entire column. (As a matter of fact, in the last four columns Smith has written about the Sixers, Andre Iguodala’s name has been mentioned only once, in reference to a lack of conditioning on the Sixers.) I mean, he’s writing about the future of this franchise, and if the past three months have shown us anything, it’s that the future is tied to their young superstar. If there was no Iguodala in Philly, I might agree with Smith. There’d be nowhere to look but the draft and Greg Oden for a centerpiece, but Iguodala has proven that he can elevate the play of the people around him, and most importantly, win.
I’m tempted to question Smith’s intelligence again, or maybe even suggest that he’s intentionally spewing this nonsense to get his name out there, but upon further review I think something else is going on here. I think Smith hasn’t watched the Sixers play since Allen Iverson left. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for drivel like his recent columns.
Oh, and one more point. The Sixers got Andre Iguodala with the #9 pick in the draft, if the season ended today, they’d be right in that neighborhood, unless they miraculously win the lottery.