Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It's time to face facts, you're a luger...a huge luger.

While that title may make some people think that I’m going to extensively cover some Winter Olympics action in this post, it may also make some people think that I really do think they’re a luger. In both instances, these people would be spectacularly wrong. Really, the only reason why I led with that title is that every time I hear an announcer refer to someone as a “luger” it makes me giggle like some silly little seventh grade kid in gym class after watching some clueless schmoe classmate get pantsed as he attempted to set the new class pull up record. It’s sophomoric and idiotic but, then again, so am I and I’m not about to start making apologies for myself.

Honestly, I’d like to be able to write an entire column on the Winter Olympics but that is going to be awfully hard since the “Olympics that Bryant Gumbel won’t watch” have been no higher on my TV viewing food chain than Second TV for nearly the entirety of their existence thus far. In my assessment, that is the perfect spot for the Winter Olympics anyway. I certainly don’t care enough about these Olympics to clog up my main TV with the various exploits of these “Snolympians” ( I made that up myself, thank you) and the Olympic coverage switches from event to event far too quickly for Picture-in-Picture to be of anything other than mild assistance. That’s why the second TV is perfect for the Winter Olympics, it allows you to occasionally glance at the action on NBC and (when necessary) quickly switch your main TV to an event of personal interest (Snow Cross, Skeleton, and Ski Jump to name a few personal favorites) at the Olympics. As a result of this approach to Winter Olympic viewing, you’ll have to go elsewhere if you’re looking for a breakdown of tonight’s Davis-Hedrick Speed Skating Battle Royale or any other ridiculously overhyped event that approximately 2% of the world’s population is even aware of, for that matter. Sorry to disappoint you.



"Have you been watching the Winter Olympics Bri?"

"Oh hell naw G! Have seen the utter paucity of brothas in that event? That shit is wack!"

"Word is bond!"

While I’m disappointing people in this space, I figure I might as well stay consistent. It’s due to this (and a tremendous lack of work ethic) that I’m going to delay any Darko related posts until later in the week when (hopefully) the Magic have decided on a proper destination for Steve Francis and I’ve had at least one chance to see Darko in action. While I have seen Darko play in the past, you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t feel like the 10 combined minutes of garbage time that I’ve seen of him is enough material with which to dissect Darko’s game and therefore accurately predict his future success/failure (he is only 20). As you can probably guess, my initial feelings aren’t very “warm and fuzzy” especially when you consider that the Magic gave up $8.2 million in cap relief (better known as Kelvin Cato) and a lottery pick that is only lottery protected through the Top 5 in 2007. However, I’m going to hold off on blasting the continued ineptitude of the Orlando front office until I’ve had a little time to at least see the skills that Darko brings to the table. While I don’t expect him to come out and start dunking on Drew Gooden tonight (that would be awesome though), I would hope that the Magic give Darko enough time and touches to allow him the opportunity to display the multitude of skills that we’ve heard everybody, including his former teammates rave about for so long now.

Throughout his first two and a half years in Detroit, Darko repeatedly asked for an opportunity to play whether in Detroit or elsewhere. Considering the current state of the franchise, the Magic would be doing both themselves and Darko an enormous disservice if they attempted to hold him out of action while he acclimates himself to a new city and system. Both entities are in serious need of an infusion of excitement and promise, and the future (both short and long term) of both depends heavily on the outcome of this trade. What Darko needs right now is to feel wanted and valuable, to feel as though he is a real NBA player. Not just some guy who collects a paycheck and listens to fans heckle him endlessly as he rots on the bench. Conversely, what the Magic needs now is something to build toward, a sense of renewed optimism among the fan base that the organization is headed in the right direction and that brighter days are ahead. These two need each other. It is for these reasons that the Magic must get Darko on the court as soon as possible, and why the coaching staff must give him consistent minutes (25+) for the remaining 30 or so games of the season. Though the playoffs are still a remote & technical possibility, the Magic staff would be extremely unwise to believe that the playoffs were anything more than a pipe dream. Furthermore, using the notion of contending for the playoffs as a means to justify not integrating Darko into the lineup immediately, due to his relative lack of familiarity with the Magic’s system, would be completely unforgivable, and appropriately in line with the Magic’s normal managerial procedures. While conventional wisdom says that the Magic should hold off on giving Darko too many minutes initially because he doesn't know any of the plays at this point. I’m also quite sure that the same could be said for Mario Kasun, and that doesn’t seem to stop him from getting his heavily tattooed ass a measurable amount of playing time from night to night. Hopefully, I'll see enough of Darko tonight to report back tomorrow with some (at least) minimal insight on the man Rasheed Wallace has dubbed the "Serbian Gangsta".

15 comments:

Greg said...

Huge Deuce last night for Dark the Shark.

CFunk28 said...

4 whole minutes? I really hope they let him play. Maybe it will inspire a group of fans at the Orena to become "Darko's Darkies". That would be awesome.

Mark said...

Darko didn't play alot, but he was aggresive defensively and had a nice reverse layup where he recovered a badly thrown bounce pass at his feet. He did a pretty nice job on Big Z when he was out there.

Carlos Arroyo did a great job in his limited miutes. He had 2 assists (one of which was a beautiful lob to Dwight) and got Dwight Howard to the free throw line on twice in his first four possesions at the point for Orlando. Hopefully, Steve Francis noticed how Arroyo "got others involved" and "made his teammates better". Abstract concepts for a point guard, I know.

Greg said...

Well Stevie is gone. And the bust known as Penny Hardaway is back in town. Can we call him a bust? Sure injuries hurt his career, but he never lived up to expectations.

Trevor Ariza will provide a spark off the bench, I'm glad we got him.

Supposedly this puts the 'gic in a good position for the crop of free agents in the summer of 2007. Who are the potential candidates?

CFunk28 said...

I really like Ariza. He's long and he defends well (which I'm sure Brian Hill will love). If he can develop a shot he could be a good player. Maybe DH will inspire him.

Mark said...

I like Ariza too. He was a very nice surprise for the Knicks, until this year when Brown refused to play him at all. He's athletic, good on defense and is just 20 or 21. To get him as well as $15+ million in Penny's expiring contract is a major coup for a team with the recent front office history that the Magic have. They've really put themselves in a favorable position for the future.

As for the free agents that will be available in 2007, read John Hollinger's article :

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&id=2339268

Greg said...

Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis, Chauncey Billups, Jamal Crawfish....

Not terribly excited about any of them. Pierce could be good but he's getting old. I haven't seen enough of Lewis playing to get a read on him.

Greg said...

and Vince Carter....

Greg said...

What the fuck kind of pass was that?

Can't inbound the ball with 20 seconds left.

TJ said...

Tennessee is most definitely the real deal boys. With their style of play and an excellent coach in Bruce Pearl, it would not shock me if the cousin bangers made to the Elite Eight or better. And that kid Lofton hasn't missed a free throw in SEC play. Pretty impressive.

Greg said...

Where was Dark the Shark last night? I don't even see him as a DNP in the box score.

TJ said...

DNP-CD for the Serbian Gangsta...

CFunk28 said...

That was a pretty sorry excuse for an inbounds. Billy's boys cracking under the pressure? What? Never...

Mark said...

I haven't been ignoring the comments (or UF's awful loss), I'm just extremely busy right now...end of the month.

Brewer 's inbounds pass was atrocious. When the initial play didn't work, he should have called timeout. Of course, Al Horford should've stepped to the pass as well. Billy said it last night, they are a better team than us, though I'm not sure the gap is as much as Billy says.

Any way you look at it, the fact reamins that UF has lost it's last two games (as well as both to Tennessee) despite having possesion of the ball with a dead shot clock at the end of each game. You should never lose in regulation in those types of situations. They simply haven't executed (That goes for the coaching staff too.) It's cliche, but i do think there is a certain amount of "learning to win" that a team must go through. This isn't an especially experienced team, particularly in conference. I definitely don't think that this bodes well for the tourney, where they're likely to see an experienced mid major team. I like to remeber that nobody thought they'd be worth shit this year anyway. It helps.

As for the Magicians, they led for the entire game. The Nets turned in on in the 4th and won...surprise. Also, despite having only nine players active, Darko took the DNP CD. A terrific night for me as a basketball fan.

Mark said...

I forgot to mention one thing. My friend Jason Elam (not the kicker) lives in the town where Lofton went to high school. He told me about him a couple of years ago and said that he was a beast. He couldn't believe that UK hadn't even bothered to recruit him but he was sure that he'd be a All-SEC caliber player. He certainly is.