Tuesday, May 24, 2005


That is exactly how I felt last night when I saw the announcement come over the bottom line that the Magic were hiring Brian Hill as their new head coach. That's just splendid. They're going to go ahead and hire a guy who not only already coached this increasingly moribund franchise, but who was also run out of town by his own players in his previous coaching stint with the Magic. It's understandable since there aren't any viable candidates available for head coaching position this summer...way to aim low boys! I was actually okay with the decision to hire Dave Twardzik as the new G.M. if only because it got John Weisbrod out of basketball and back into something he knows better...like say "tough guys". My thought on Twardzik is that he is a basketball guy (what a revolutionary thought...hiring somebody with actual experience in the business) and he has paid his dues in a couple of different front office positions so we'd might as well give him a shot to prove himself. Hell, he can't be any worse that the Two Johns (Gabriel and Weisbrod).

To be honest, I sincerely hope that Twardzik can make some decent moves this summer and that I'm wrong about Hill. Hill's tenure was a VERY long time ago and he was a victim of Penny Hardaway being one of the biggest bitches of all time, so maybe I'll be surprised by all this guy can bring to the table next year. Currently, all I really know is that Hill never played in the NBA and that is often very hard for players to get past when a guy is berating their defense and questioning their manhood. Though neither Van Gundy had NBA experience going for them and both have made it work well thus far, so its not unprecedented.

Tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery so we should get a pretty good idea of what the Magic will be looking at come June. In a perfect world, the Magic would get Lyle Lovett level lucky and grab the #1 pick in the draft which they would then use to select Andrew Bogut. Now, don't take this to mean that I think Andrew Bogut is going to be a great player...I don't. What I do think is that Bogut's game would be the perfect complement to the ever emerging offensive repetoire of Dwight Howard. Just the thought of Bogut dumping down passes from the high post into Howard on the block practically drives me to self abuse. Alas, it is far more likely that the Magic will end up in the late lotery where they have to chose between some combination of unproven high schooler, unproven Euro, or proven but slightly flawed collegian. More on these possible additions once I get a good look at the draft order this evening.

As for last night, the Pistons did exaclty what I expected them to do on defense and Dwyane Wade reacted just about how I expected him to react. This could very ugly for the Heat if they can't figure out how to free Wade for more quality looks. The only reason that Miami was even in the game last night is because Eddie Jones was playing out of his aging mind. I'll bet my house that Eddie can't do anything like that on consistent basis in this series. The Heat just don't have the overall depth and talent to keep up with the Pistons for 48 minutes. Sorry.

With that said, it was an entertaining game to watch and I took a few notes throughout the evening's festivities...enjoy:

- Rasheed Wallace was absolutely on fire to begint he game last night. I know that Udonis Haslem isn't used to covering guys with legitimate three point range, but after Wallace knocks down a couple Udonis might want to think about getting a hand up on Rasheed when he's floating around the perimeter. As underrated as Haslem is, I think that his matchup with Wallace is easily the biggest mismatch of this series. Wallace has three inches on Haslem, is more athletic and has a much better overall skill set. Haslem has to get in Rasheed's head is he has any hope of evening him out. Now I don't know if that was his strategy but it looked like Haslem was trying to talk it up a little bit with Wallace early on which clearly didn't work out how Udonis had planned. By midway through the third quarter, Wallace was practically screaming at Haslem as he continued to knock down jumpers on the second year man.

-The second biggest mismatch in this series has got to be the Damon Jones vs. Chauncey Billups matchup. Billup is way too big and strong for Jones. He posted up Jones whenever he felt like it last night and his height really bothered Jones' outside shot. It's utterly amazing to me that so many teams just gave up on Billups within, literally, a couple of weeks of acquiring him early in his career.

- At one point last night the Heat had an lottery pick lineup on the floor in Shaq, Mourning, Eddie Jones, Dwyane Wade, and Keyon Dooling. At a completely different juncture, the Pistons had 4 lottery picks on the floor in Rasheed Wallace, McDyess, Hamilton and Billups. I have no idea why I found this interesting.

- Did anybody see Mourning pull an A-Rod while attempting to block Tayshaun Prince's shot? He just grabbed on the net and hung there while trying to get the block (to no avail) and then reacted with incredulity when he was whistled for the techinical. I know that all his peers seem to like the guy but he sure strikes me as a Grade A Dickhead. Between the constant self-promoting histrionics and his unbelievable refusal to play for, not one but, two franchises this year because "he wants to win a championship" there doesn't seem like a less likeable dude in the NBA today. Everybody wants to win a championship buddy, just because you have some kidney disease doesn't give you carte blanche to do whatever you please in an attempt to win that championship. You're a warrior and you work hard...buttons for you. You're still a huge dick.

- Their were an unusually large number of celebrities at the American Airlines Arena last night. I myself noticed Randy Moss, Jamie Foxx and Sean Combs (his name is NOT P. Diddy) sitting courtside by midway through the first half and yet, we never got the random celebrity shots during one of the extended timoeouts. It really doesn't matter to me one way or the other, but why didn't this happen? Is it only something that David Stern allows in New York and LA? Is there a special camera for this sort of thing that TNT crew didn't remember to pack?

Correction: Upon further review of yesterday's column, I need to amend something. I referred to the current programming on VH1 as "countdown shows" when in actuality they are far from countdown shows and would be much better classified as comedy/pop culture history hybrids. Sorry about the mix-up, my four beer lunch got the best of me.


Jerry said...

Alonzo Mourning can blow me where the pampers is. Vince Carter (deservedly) catches all kinds of shit from people because he mailed it in Toronto, but people keep on celebrating Mourning. At least Carter SHOWED UP FOR WORK. Then Mourning has to go into all these ridiculous on court antics. You're a grown man in your mid-30's! Settle the f down.

I like Shaq and I like Wade, but I'm pulling hard for Detroit so Mourning doesn't get his ring.

TJ said...

On Billups - Pitino takes the guy 3rd (or was it 5th), and gives up on him after 51 games. What an a-hole.

Greg said...

What about Rasheed Wallace? He was the (pardon the cliche') "NBA poster-boy for bad behavior" for YEARS. Then, somehow, he realizes he's on a team that could actually be a contender and all of a sudden, his lifelong attitude problem is just gone.

Maybe his maturity growth stopped at age 7 and then quickly recalibrated 18 months ago to "responsible adult"?

festinog said...

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Mark said...

Yeah, I almost find myself wishing a kidney flare up (whatever that means?)just so I don't have to watch Alonzo show us all how intense he is. I can't think of two former teammates further apart on the likeability scale than Mutombo and Mourning.

As for Billups, The Raptors gave up on him without any other viable options att he point and the donkeys in the Magic front office wouldn't even let the guy suit up during the last two months of the 2000 season. Its not like the guy just figured out how to play in the past three years. NBA GM's are almost as bad (collectively) as NBA Refs.

Greg said...

Hey Festinog, I must commend YOU on your terrible personality.

Greg said...

Also, for the record, I thought Chauncey Billups was awesome in college and was surprised to see him turn into an "NBA journeyman" so quickly.

Jerry said...

And what a ridiculous name. "Chauncey"?

Mark said...

Every time I hear Billups' name I think of a line in "Menace II Society" that ends with this classic description of Big Daddy Kane's character "that faggot ass nigga Chauncey".

For the record, I thought Billups was a stud at Colorado as well but never thought he'd turn out to be as good of an NBA point guard as he's proven to be.