Week 19 Rebound & Rant: Zen Edition!
So Phil Jackson is going to clean up the mess that is the New York Knicks? Oh really? Is retirement really so awful? What's wrong with just hanging out on a ranch in Montana? Why would anyone want to deal with Carmelo Anthony's pending free agency, Raymond Felton's gun problems, Isiah Thomas' inexplicable continued communication with James Dolan, Coach Mike Woodson's lame duck tenure and a lack of first round picks?
Grantland's Bill Simmons does a nice job of trying to explain "why" in his recent
mailbag column. OK, I follow that logic Bill, but doesn't relaxing in Montana and LA seem more appealing? Isn't that more Zen?
Of course, the last thing NY and LA need is more press coverage, so let's move on to random fantasy observations and the occasional amusing video.
Is Portland In Trouble?
As an older gentlemen (44), it was particularly difficult to watch LaMarcus Aldridge fall on his back during Wednesday night's San Antonio game. He looked like an old man falling off his ladder while trying to clean out the gutters. Word is he's out for
at least two games and Mo Williams is out for two weeks. This is NOT good news for a squad that surprisingly has lost five of their last six games. Who might step for the Blazers? It probably won't be the oft-traded Thomas Robinson – he's only averaging five points and 5.5 boards over the past five games and looked bad filling in for Aldridge on Wednesday. I think Dorell Wright will get the bump as Coach Stotts experiments with smaller lineups.
Thank God for Coach Pop
I absolutely love Coach Gregg Popovich's disdain for the in-game interview. I love a fellow curmudgeon! Check out his delightfully belligerent responses to Craig Sager during last Thursday's Spurs game versus Miami:
Just once I want to be interviewed on TV so I can answer with an "I have no clue" response. (Though one could argue I prove that every two weeks with this column.)
Now That Is The Truth!
Anybody notice Paul Pierce's 29-point effort in Miami Wednesday? I know at this point in his career, The Truth's break out performances are less frequent. But you gotta give him some credit for helping the Nets win seven of their last eight. In his last five games he's averaging 14 points, 3.8 rebounds and two treys on 53% shooting. Not bad, fellow old man.
I'll confess that I used to think Kenneth Faried was overrated. He seemed like a high energy highlight reel guy who struggled with his shot and was a little too small for the power forward spot. I don't know what he did over the All-Star break, but he made a drastic improvement. Check out his crazy pre and post break game averages:
Pre-Break: 10.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 59% FT-percentage, 54% shooting on eight shots
Post-Break: 18.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 72% FT-percentage, 60% shooting on 13 shots
That's nuts. Unfortunately for Denver, they've lost 13 of 17 games since the ASG. Maybe he's just evolving into the role of "stat-stuffer on a bad team." Maybe.
Joey, Do You Like Movies About Gladiators?
Have you ever been to Wisconsin? Seriously, it's a wonderful land, home to the beer sponsored Summerfest and the equally great World's Largest Brat Fest. And now they have the greatest NBA-related, Airplane! inspired tourist ad ever produced. Great work, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar! Listen for the "I can't believe I ever left this place". (You do know his NBA career started with six seasons playing for the Bucks?). Enjoy:
(Side Note: Welcome back to Madison, RotoWire COO Tim Schuler! That clip was for you.)
Amir Johnson Upticking Yet Again
Is it me or does it seem that every year Amir Johnson hits a hot stretch where he suddenly looks a lot better? Well, with Rudy Gay long gone and the Raptors winning, Johnson is doing it again. In five March games, he's improved to game averages of 13.8 points, 6.8 boards, 1.6 blocks and 62% FG-percentage. Plus he's got an awesome goatee. Johnson has been around forever (OK, eight seasons), but he's only 26 years old. There is still upside.
Free Agent Pick-Ups?
Danny Granger (LAC): Mr. Granger is generally too well known of an entity to be named in my FA section. But he is getting very comfortable very quickly with the Clippers. He's played 23+ minutes in his last two Clipper games, averaging 16 points, four boards, one block, and two treys. With Crawford and Reddick hurt, they badly need points of the bench. I see more upside.
Devin Harris (DAL): Harris is another guy too famous, generally, for my FA section, but offseason surgery made Harris irrelevant this season until now. He's still available in most deep leagues (only owned in 3% of Yahoo leagues) and I like him as a speculative pick as his health improves. He's working on a one-year contract and needs to prove he's returned to good health.
Henry Sims (PHI): Notice his 20 point, 10 rebound, three steal, two block effort on Wednesday? Hey, someone has to play in that awful Philly lineup. I promoted him in my last column – so now I'm really just bragging (Again. See Jerryd Bayless). I still don't think anyone gets this far in my columns, anyway. (If I'm wrong, I still dare you to leave a comment).