Nothin’ But Net
In case no one has heard yet, there has been some discussion this past week based around fouls in the NBA. Now, I don’t want to name any names, but I’m going to anyway because otherwise this would be a very boring column.
Here’s the deal: in last week’s Heat/Bulls game, LeBron James took issue with some of the harder fouls the Bulls committed in their attempts to stop him. As the Bulls won the game, ending the Heat’s streak, this made a significant amount of noise around the league.
For some reason, Danny Ainge (Celtics’ GM and one-time player) decided to weigh in, and basically called James a wimp.
Taj Gibson, one of the players LeBron was complaining about, also made some remarks, basically just calling the plays good, hard basketball fouls.
Then Pat Riley did some Pat Riley things, and cursed out Ainge in an official statement. This is why Pat Riley is amazing.
As you can see, there are many sides to take here — LeBron’s, Ainge’s, Gibson’s and Riley’s. I’m going to do something unusual, and agree with all of them, while also disagreeing with all of them.
Regular readers are probably not surprised.
Anyway, starting with LeBron’s point, of COURSE he has a right to be upset. Other players can’t stop him through normal means, so they often bend the rules and do more than they should. He has every right to be upset and voice his frustrations. On the other hand, star players used to get battered far worse all the time (the Bad Boy Pistons of the 1980s are chuckling right now), and complaining about calls when your team just lost is akin to being a poor sport.
As to Ainge’s point, I just made it — players these days are too coddled. The stars in particular seem to think that if anyone so much as looks at them funny it should be a foul, which isn’t good basketball. On the flip side, Ainge shouldn’t be talking about players on other teams at all, especially when they aren’t talking about his team. Plus, the last thing the Celtics want is to play against a pissed off LeBron James, which Ainge basically just ensured will happen.
Gibson, who has been largely ignored in all this, also makes a good point, in that players have to do their best to stop James, the frieght train coming straight at them. Plus, tough fouls are a part of the game, and it isn’t right for star players to complain about them so much. However, Gibson was wrong in making those fouls, as the league clarified by upgrading one of his plays to a flagrant.
Riley … was completely correct. He should have blasted Ainge, and should definitely stand by his players. Pat Riley can do no wrong, and I’m definitely not saying that because I’m afraid he’d read this and destroy me if I said otherwise.
The moral of all this? Shut up and play basketball, isn’t that what you’re paid for?
I May Be Wrong, But…
Here are the moves I would make in Fantasy Basketball this week:
Add: Reggie Evans. He has become more than the defensive presence and master of the flop/dirty foul he once was. Now he’s a defensive presence, master of the flop/dirty foul, AND a masterful rebounder capable of monstrous games of 20+ boards, which he had two of this past week.
Drop: Metta World Peace is out for the season with an injury, so you might want to start there. You might also want to consider dropping or trading Kevin Garnett, since he’s injured and the Celtics definitely want to rest him for the playoffs. Since they’ve all but clinched a spot, he may not see much more action this season.
Look Out For: I’m confused, I thought Kyrie Irving was going to be out for the season. Now he’s back and playing just as well as ever. What are the Cavs doing, not tanking right now and risking their best player? I’m confused, I thought NBA lottery teams knew that they should give up and stop trying this time of year.
Be Cautious Of: Did anyone catch that the Heat rested LeBron and Wade against the Spurs, just like the Spurs rested their best guys against the Heat earlier this year? These two teams still haven’t really played against each other, which means if they meet in the Finals, I’m expecting Pop and Spoelstra to send in teams of squirrels to do battle.