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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Interesting Nuggets From a Full Slate of MLK Day Games

There were 13 NBA games on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, including a triple-header on TNT. Here are some observations and comments about several of the games in a notebook style format:

* The top five scorers in the NBA each played in one of the TNT games. Here is how they did:

LeBron James: 28 points (11-26 FG, 5-5 FT), three rebounds, five assists
Kobe Bryant: 17 points (5-7 FG, 6-8 FT), five rebounds, 11 assists
Allen Iverson: 24 points (8-23 FG, 8-11 FT), three rebounds, seven assists
Carmelo Anthony: 13 points (5-11 FG, 3-4 FT), four rebounds, one assist (left game in second quarter due to sprained ankle)
Dwyane Wade: 42 points (17-29 FG, 7-8 FT), six rebounds, seven assists

Memphis 104, Chicago 90

* Memphis rookie point guard Mike Conley had 10 points and a career-high 10 assists. Conley is a fun player to watch and has a bright future because he really sees the court well and delivers the ball to open players on time and on target. Those are distinct skills and a player who has all three of them has a chance to be special.

* Memphis has a collection of talented players who seemingly should be producing more than they do: Darko Milicic, Stromile Swift and Hakim Warrick. These three players are coach/GM killers, the kind of guys you bring in to a team because they look like they can really play but whose day in, day out production is not consistently high.

Cleveland 97, Miami 90

* I don't care if Coach Pat Riley insists that Shaquille O'Neal's body fat and weight are as good as they have been since the Diesel motored into Miami; as the saying goes, the eye in the sky doesn't lie: O'Neal looks out of shape and he moves like he is out of shape. He can barely get off of the ground and lateral mobility is just a fond memory for him. O'Neal is playing defense like an old man in a rec league, standing flat footed in one spot and hacking whoever comes into his area.

* Anderson Varejao's numbers (six points on 3-8 shooting, 10 rebounds) do not really capture the full nature of his impact on the game. On some possessions he guards multiple players, trapping the point guard and then hustling back to his own man. His activity level at both ends of the court is very high, resulting in extra possessions on offense and deflections on defense. He even led a two on one fast break with Zydrunas Ilgauskas, delivering a slick left handed bounce pass that Ilgauskas converted into a layup.

* Dwyane Wade scored 42 points, including 32 of the Heat's 38 second half points; O'Neal (10 points) was the only other Miami player who reached double figures. Last year, some people who don't understand basketball suggested that some of Kobe Bryant's 40 and 50 point games were not that impressive because they came against sub-.500 teams. Of course, Bryant led the Lakers to victories in enough of those games to carry the team to a playoff berth. Less than two years removed from a championship, Wade and O'Neal are "leading" the worst team in the Eastern Conference and Wade is finding out that it is not so easy to score 40 night after night and lead a team to victory, even against sub-.500 teams. The Heat have now lost 14 straight games.

L.A. Lakers 116, Denver 99

* First the "experts" told us before this season that Kobe Bryant would quit on the team because the Lakers neither traded him nor upgraded the roster. Then they told us that Andrew Bynum is the key to the team's success. Most recently they told us that the Lakers would not be able to win without Bynum. Pardon me for mixing sports metaphors, but this is a case of three strikes and you're out. How about trying my Lakers' theories on for size? As I've written for the past two years, Kobe Bryant is the best player in the league. He draws so much defensive attention that his teammates get wide open shots that they would not otherwise be able to create for themselves (this applies to Bynum, too, though he very recently began to showcase some low post moves other than catching lob passes). Bryant is a skillful passer but his assists numbers do not always reflect this for two reasons: (1) his teammates often miss the wide open shots that he creates for them; (2) in many cases Bryant delivers the first pass out of the double-team, which forces the defense to scramble and leads to the pass that garners the assist. In 10-15 years, objective observers will look back at this era and be very puzzled that Bryant did not win the MVP in 2006 and 2007. Maybe the voters will get it right this year.

* In the first quarter, Kobe Bryant did not attempt a field goal or score a single point but he had two rebounds and two assists as the Lakers took a 39-29 lead. Derek Fisher scored 16 points, many of them on shots that were wide open because Denver double-teamed Bryant.

* Bryant committed his fourth foul at the 9:01 mark in the third quarter and sat out with the Lakers leading 71-59. A little more than two minutes later, the score was 75-69 and Coach Phil Jackson had to put Bryant back in the game to stabilize the team. Denver continued to make a good run--momentum can be hard to stop sometimes--and even briefly took the lead but by the end of the quarter the Lakers were up 91-82 and never trailed again. Bryant had assists on five straight possessions, repeatedly drawing the defense and then feeding open teammates. Saying that Bryant is "finally" sharing the ball this year is as incorrect as saying that Bill Belichick did not know how to coach in Cleveland but then learned how to do so in New England (look up who is the last Browns coach to win a playoff game and who was coaching the team that he beat); the only difference between this season and last season is that when Bryant passes the ball to open teammates they are finally making the shots. Replacing Smush Parker with Derek Fisher has a lot to do with that. There is a reason that Coach Jackson basically told Bryant to stop passing and shoot more often down the stretch last year: that was the only way that the Lakers had a chance to win. Bryant is a very gifted passer and he put the full range of his skills in that area on display versus Denver, delivering bounce passes, no look passes, behind the back passes to cutters and pinpoint feeds to perimeter shooters who could then catch and shoot in rhythm.

* For some strange reason, the "experts" continually underrate Cleveland--a team built on rebounding and defense that is led by the second best player in the league--and overrate Detroit and Denver, two teams that are stocked with individual talent but have yet to reach their full potential in postseason play (the Detroit teams that reached back to back Finals had Larry Brown and Ben Wallace; I am referring to the current group that loses in the playoffs to lower seeded teams).

Washington 102, Dallas 84

* Face it--this is just not a good time for the Gilbert Arenas fan club, whose members work overtime combing the stat sheets for numerical proof that the Wizards are not in fact better without Agent Zero. Here are two clues for you would be Sherlock Holmeses: (1) Take your eyes off of the Excel spread sheets and actually watch the games--the Wizards are playing harder and they are playing more together and they are actually playing defense now; (2) if Arenas were truly an MVP level player then this would not even be close: the team would be much worse without him. The fact that it is a close enough call to even be worthy of debate shows that Arenas is not as valuable as so many people were saying last season. The reality is that the Wizards have never been much more than a .500 team even with him on the court but they are significantly better than .500 so far this season without him.

* When I asked "Is Gilbert Arenas the Most Overrated All-Star in the NBA?" bloggers rushed to Agent Zero's defense like I'd committed some kind of basketball heresy. One of the funniest parts to me is how the Washington fans insisted that the Wizards' early success was due to a weak schedule, which essentially meant that they would now root for their team to do badly in order to "prove" my contentions about Arenas to be wrong. Let's see: the Wizards just beat league-leading Boston twice and now they've swept the season series with Dallas, a team that had won eight of nine games prior to Monday's contest. This is the first time Washington swept Dallas since 1996-97 and Dallas' biggest loss of the season. It is also the sixth time the Wizards have held a team to fewer than 85 points this season, something that they did not do even once last year (they are 6-0 in those games). Here are some interesting post-game quotes:

"They've gotten a lot better defensively. They're trying to do the right things.'' (Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki)

"Usually, the key to our success is always our offense over the past couple of years. But now it's been the defense. And to win big games and get quality wins, you've got to play well at the defensive end.'' (Washington forward Caron Butler)

"We know with Gil out that we've got to maximize our forwards' scoring opportunities. We're trying to put them in different situations - 3s, they pick-and-roll, they slash, they post up, they come off of screens. If I have to call 100 plays, 95 of them are for our forwards.'' (Washington Coach Eddie Jordan)

In case you can't read between the lines, here is what those quotes really say: with Gilbert Arenas running the show (and being the center of attention), the Wizards were a bad defensive team that was stagnant on offense and relied on his scoring to bail them out; when he hit a hot streak, everything was great but over the long haul you can't have sustained success playing that way. With Arenas out of the lineup, the team is playing better defense and the offense is being run through the forwards instead of through a shoot first gunner masquerading as a point guard.

I also love how some people read one post and then accused me of forming my opinion of the Arenas-less Wizards on the basis of one nationally televised game. Of course, if they had actually read more than one post here then they would know that I've covered numerous Wizards games in person the past several seasons and they would also know that at the very time that Agent Zero MVP hype was reaching its peak in the mainstream media I asked "Is Gilbert a Gunner?" and concluded that this is in fact an apt description of how he plays. Interestingly, in that very post I talked about a game versus the Kings in which Arenas scored 30 points but shot 9-23 from the field and stated that the real star of the game was Antawn Jamison, who shot 9-17 from the field and had 33 points and 13 rebounds. Arenas bragged to Sports Illustrated about how much better guys like Caron Butler, Larry Hughes and Jamison have done playing alongside him--but Butler and Jamison have been doing just fine this year without Arenas' help and Hughes made it to the Finals playing alongside LeBron James. I suppose the concept of sacrificing one's stats to win more games does not make sense to Arenas so he probably thinks that Hughes is worse off now than he was when he was a Wizard.

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posted by David Friedman @ 7:55 AM



At Tuesday, January 22, 2008 11:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

no question bynum is key to they sucess with just kobe they a average team with kobe and him then they are contenders. his length is the biggest thing for him and he could create his own shot as well. the lakers are better when the ball gets passed around like it did yesterday rather than kobe takeing 44 shots like he did aginst seatlle as been said for a while now. and i thought kobe was going to quit as well at the beginning of the season he didnt think much of the team as most didnt the credit goes to mitch kupchak he stuck with the team no matter what kobe or the others around the league thought he knew bynum had potential and bynum and farmar and fisher and other have gotten better over the off season and put the time in and should get the credit as well.

as far as gilbert arenas the wizards will still need him if they are going to advance in the playoffs and he is still a key cog to there team. butler and jamison has played well without gil but they still need him to me especially at end of game situation. your beef with arenas like chad johnson is they dont get critcized the way you think they should for what they say like kobe and terrell owens do, you have a right to your opion but as i said i disagree with that chad johnson said trade me if im a problem and marvin lewis came out and said he wasnt tradeing him so he must not be a big problem but gil will come back and help the team for sure.

At Tuesday, January 22, 2008 11:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

and they not going to win alot without bynum even though they won last night aginst the nuggets they have nuthing inside as great as kobe is he is a guard aka reciver in football bynum is your quarterback basketball terms you need a quarter back to win unless your reciver is micheal jordan, now dont get me wrong bynum not a great quarterback and kobe would be a great reciever but center is the most importna position and quarterback in football you cant win without someone very good there.

At Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:12:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


It is obviously more difficult for the Lakers to win without Bynum--and the injury to Ariza is another setback--but if no further injuries hit the team I expect the Lakers to play better than .500 ball without Bynum. Kobe is the best player in the NBA and with Fisher at pg instead of Smush and the improvement of some of the younger players he now has just enough to work with even without Bynum for the Lakers to not completely drop off. In contrast, if Kobe were to go down for eight weeks but Bynum were healthy the Lakers would instantly become a sub-.500 team. Bynum is not a franchise level player at this point; he should be commended for how much he has improved but the media has been giving him a little too much credit for the Lakers' success.

At Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:23:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


I don't know if the Bengals are going to trade Johnson or not but what good would it do for Coach Lewis to publicly say that Johnson is a problem? That makes it harder to trade Johnson and then if Johnson is not traded it creates tension between Coach and player (or, I should say, more tension than already exists). Coach Lewis is not any happier with Johnson than Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan was with Arenas and his antics but the coach just can't come out and say that point blank publicly, particularly in an era when it is a lot easier to fire a coach than trade a player. A lot of the shine has come off of Johnson this year because more people are finally realizing that he is a distraction to the team and that the individual numbers he has put up have not translated into much team success. I think that a similar realization about Arenas will come about in time as well; I'm just ahead of the curve regarding Agent Zero.

You say that the Wizards need Arenas at the end of the game and in the playoffs--but they just blew out the Mavs without him and he has only made it to the second round once in his whole career. The truth is that this Wizards team is not likely going to make it out of the first round with or without him.

Kobe took 44 shots because no one else was willing/able to do anything--and don't forget that he shot a good percentage and the Lakers did win that game. Kobe does whatever the team needs him to do--if the team needs him to score 40-50 points or more, then he does; if the team needs him to distribute the ball, he can do that, too.

At Wednesday, January 23, 2008 2:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jigga what? How expectedly unexpected to see this here.

I'm not seeing how those quotes by Dirk, Caron, and Eddie Jordan are indicting Gilbert in any way. Dirk's quote seems pretty straightforward: if you read between the lines, as you say, he's praising the Wizards' new defensive schemes (implemented by Randy Ayers, who has had a similar affect on the Wizards defense as Tom Thibodeau has had on the Celtics) and the current Wizards' ability to pick them up so quickly. Caron's quote discusses the overall team mindset, because, after all, it wasn't like Gilbert was the only player not playing good defense last year (watch some tape of Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler from last year). And Eddie Jordan's quote, in a way, is offering praise of himself, saying he has done an excellent job of putting Caron and Antawn in good positions offensively (which I agree with).

Also, the so-called "stagnant" Wizards offense of the past was good enough to be the fifth-best in the league last year (when adjusted for pace) and seventh-best the year before, compared to just 11th this season. And though you'll scoff at this nerd-like observation, year after year, there has never been a strong correlation between offensive and defensive efficiency, as evidenced by the helter-skelter Nuggets finishing in the top-10 in defense each of the last two years.

Your utter simplicity disturbs me, seeing as you're blogging from the point of view of an NBA analyst. Anyone who does not believe as you do is part of the "Gilbert Arenas fan club?" I don't mean to prove you wrong, because really, none of us know what will happen with Arenas until he comes back, but I've yet to read one word here about Caron Butler's improvement, Antawn Jamison's renewed toughness inside, Brendan Haywood's improved play, the coaching jobs of Eddie Jordan and Randy Ayers, or the improvement of the youngsters on this team. All of these things are significant factors that those watching the very same games as you (including myself) are seeing. You're doing your readers a disservice by not exploring those factors and instead scrapping at little morsels to "support" this simplistic Gilbert Arenas argument when the morsels themselves have little to do with him.

You're a smart guy with lots of good, insightful things to say normally, which is why I'm disappointed. I know you can do better.

At Wednesday, January 23, 2008 6:38:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


You are correct that there are a lot of positive factors that explain why the Wizards are playing well and you did a good job of briefly summarizing them. However, when I first pointed out that the Wizards were performing well sans Arenas, the response was a Woody Paige-like "Look at the schedule!" Now that the Wizards have sustained a good level of play and even beaten some top teams the propaganda line is that coaching and internal player development are the causes. I don't disagree that the coaching staff has done a good job and that some players have improved--but these changes beg the question: "Why did none of this happen when Arenas was playing?"

The obvious answer, which Wizards' fans apparently don't like to hear, is that Arenas is not coachable (ask the Team USA staff). He wants to put up big offensive numbers and settle perceived grudges against people he thinks have disrespected him. Do you believe that he is going to buy into a Jordan/Ayers defensive scheme? Maybe he will have to if the team is still doing well when he comes back, but I think that there is going to be tension.

The first line of defense in basketball is the point guard; if his defense is poor, then everything else the team tries to do is going to be compromised and ultimately break down (just contrast last year's Lakers with Smush Parker to this year's Lakers with Derek Fisher--and Fisher is not even as good of a defender as he used to be). I recall last year that Coach Jordan talked about the Wizards needing to be better defensively and Arenas basically saying--and playing like--the Wizards should be an offensive-minded team. Arenas also compromised the defense with his poor shot selection, which leads to bad court balance and hardly inspires a lot of effort at that end of the court from the other players.

It is not a bad idea to do an article about the positive changes that the Wizards have made--but it is also imperative to understand that these changes likely would never have happened with Agent Zero being front and center.

Arenas is basically an upgraded version of Stephon Marbury. Until recently, Marbury had career averages of 20 ppg and 8 apg, something only Oscar Robertson accomplished. By the numbers, Marbury is great--but anyone who understands basketball realizes that Marbury is not a great point guard and that a team will not be successful with him at the helm. I'd take Arenas over Marbury but Arenas is a similar kind of player: he puts up big numbers and you can make a nice statistical case in his favor but his production does not translate into great team success (although I have come to understand that making one trip to the second round of the playoffs is apparently a big deal to Wizards' fans).

At Wednesday, January 23, 2008 9:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

they have 9 straight road games and kwame brown going to fill his role right? there going to struggle without him period. of course kobe is more valuable than bynum at this point of his career but that doesnt dispute bynum impact kobe to me is second best player behind lebron so im not compareing the two all im saying is there going to miss andrewa whole lot over this time especially his length.

chad johnson did get more exposed this year and felt him from the media for the first time this year but his antics arent nowhere near as impactful and disruptive as team obiterator. he asnt called out organization coaches his quarterback other teams quarter back called somebody gay and continue to whine and diss people after they leave the team like owens did this year to bill parcells.

arenas is going to have impact in the playoffs there better with him then without him no matter what anyone tries to say.

personally i think you overpraise kobe and the media underpraises kobe so in a sense it's even

At Thursday, January 24, 2008 6:27:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


My contention, as I outlined in my most recent post, is that even without Bynum the Lakers can go 5-4 on the upcoming road trip, which means that they will lose little if any ground in the playoff race (any time a team can be above .500 on the road that is good). We'll see what happens; even 4-5 isn't a disaster. If they go 3-6 or worse then of course they will slip in the standings, at least temporarily.

Funny that you say that Owens is more of a distraction. I recall seeing him play in a Super Bowl and make two playoff appearances with the Cowboys (in addition to multiple playoff appearances back in the day with the 49ers). What does CJ's playoff resume look like? Owens was way out of bounds with his comments about Garcia and I have never defended him for that. A lot of the other stuff has been blown out of proportion. He never really dissed Parcells; he pretty much avoided the subject until he kept getting asked about it over and over and then he just said that the team's record speaks for itself. The Cowboys did tie the mark for best regular season record in franchise history, which is really saying something, and if Owens had not gotten hurt I still think that they would have made it to the Super Bowl.

The Wizards have made it out of the first round once with Arenas. I suspect that they will lose in the first round this year with or without him, though I can't say that for sure until I see who they are matched against.

The media definitely "underpraises" Kobe because if they got it right he would have already won two MVPs. I'm not "overpraising" him as much as I am simply correcting what a lot of people get wrong. I've already shown you some quotes from NBA players like Mark Jackson and Dan Majerle who praise Kobe as much or more as I do.

At Thursday, January 24, 2008 10:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

the lakers now have nuthing in the middle as usual and they had kobe the last two years and couldnt get out the first round. kobe need help and thats bynum is my point nobody said bynum is more important than kobe but there not winning and nobody talking about the lakers like they are without bynum in the middle his length is a key kobe presence help him but all the players throw lob passes to bynum and his presence help the other lakers on the team as well.

owens was in a superbowl but the team won 2 games without him and got to the confernnce finals the previous 3 years they would of won with or without him owens like moss does for brady help donovan mcnabb numbers without question that was mcnabb best season. chad team has been underachieving but the one year they could of gone far they lost they quarterback on the first play of the pittsburg game. but chad numbers have been great the last 4 years so he really cant be questioned. he has never pubicly diss players and been the distraction that owens has been that is undisputed. owens has been a crybaby too much and been disruptive to his team, he was good this year ill give him that but all those other years he was a terrible teamate johnson is not a terrible teammate. one of my favirote players randy moss wasnt even a terrible teamate even though he didnt give full effort in oakland like he could of. his first seven years in minnesota and this year shows how great he is. he had a weak minded coach with mike tice who let him do what he wanted with dennis green he wasnt as bad. and alot of the players on minnesota and oakland like randy moss like johnson teamates do owens had some players like him some didnt.

gil is going to do his thing he is a little overated he is no kobe or bron but he still is a great player and he is agent zero.

the media do underpraise kobe but you over prasie kobe mvp the last two years based on what? he put up great numbers but his team won 45 and 42 games. that aint no mvp to me and clearly wasnt to the writers his team started 27-14 and went 15-26 injuries happen. but those players were there in march when they went 2-15 your not going to win mvp going 2-15 period you fall out the race injuries or not so he definetely wasnt mvp last year. 2006 his team was 45-37 they won 11 more games the year before most didnt think they would make the playoffs they get the 7 seed. steve nash team won 54 games and most didnt think they would make the playoffs they were the 3 seed that year. i just cant give the mvp to a 7 seed if the lakers were a 3or 4 seed i would of gave it to him because even though suns didnt have stoudamire they had more talent then lakers. but because kobe team wasnt that good i would of went with nash as well then kobe at 2 lebron 3 dirk 4. funny thing kobe came in a distance 4th thats where the media disrespects and underpraise kobe at he should of came in second that year you could make a case for james as well but i would go with kobe over him that year but he wasnt mvp to me.

At Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:10:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


I'm not sure what you mean when you call TO a "crybaby." As for his production, he has played well throughout his career and ranks among the all-time leaders in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Philly was never better than when they had him and has been terrible since getting rid of him. The Cowboys just had the best regular season in their history with him setting team receiving records. He not only puts up stats--like CJ--but he has an impact on winning.

I've already listed in numerous posts/articles why Kobe should have been the MVP in 2006 and 2006, so I'm not going to repeat myself on those subjects. Suffice it to say that he has no weaknesses, plays both ends of the court and is recognized by his own peers as the best player--even LeBron James says so. MVP voters factor in team record, so Kobe's weak supporting cast the past two years hurt him. This year, the supporting cast is playing better, so perhaps Kobe will get the recognition that he deserves.

At Friday, January 25, 2008 3:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

he rags and whines alot is why i called him a crybaby on everything you know waht he has done to coaches and quarterbacks theres no need to repeat. to had no catches in the second half and 4 for 49 in all thats not impact in the biggest game they were number 1 seed and lost thats not impact and cj cant play defense or sign defensive players and thats what cincinnati needs so thats not his fault he does his job as a reciever all he can do.

kobe wasnt no mvp it is most valuable player award not most skilled player award you think jordan should of won 6 or 7 then shaq should of won 4 or 5 then if it is not just the best player award your team has to be good as well his wasnt.

At Friday, January 25, 2008 4:37:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


You don't cite a specific example of TO whining, so I can't really respond. For instance, what he said about Garcia was not "whining," it was just wrong and I said that. When he said that McNabb did not get it done at the end of the Super Bowl, that is not "whining" (and it is also true, by the way).

TO played about three to four weeks earlier than normal based on the injury that he had and the Cowboys scored an offensive touchdown for the first time since he got hurt--and he caught it. He was clearly not 100%. Romo threw an inaccurate pass that otherwise almost certainly would have been a second TO touchdown later in the first half. Even a hobbled TO was drawing double coverage, including on the last play of the game, so Romo should have been more productive. TO got all of his numbers in the first half, forcing the Giants to double-team him. The difference was that a hurt TO could not beat double coverage like a healthy one could but just by drawing double coverage he was helping the team.

There are no written criteria that state what the MVP award is or should be. Andre Dawson won an NL MVP for a losing team once. I happen to think that the best player should win the award unless his team is just terrible. Wade is not having an MVP year this season but even if he were you can't give it to a guy on a team that bad; Kobe's teams made the playoffs, so they weren't terrible--but without him, those Lakers teams would have been as bad as the Heat are now. He absolutely deserved the last two MVPs. His performance in the second half of last season is among the best of all-time: he CARRIED a depleted team to the playoffs by averaging more ppg after the All-Star break than anyone since Wilt more than 40 years ago. Everybody knew that he was getting the ball (who else was going to get it--Smush?) and he still got the job done. Ask Wade how hard it is to keep getting 40 a night--and win games--with no help.

At Friday, January 25, 2008 9:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

he whined when didnt get the ball thrown to him in sf in 2003-2004 and how jeff garcia dont throw the ball far when they were throwing the ball to him 8 9 times a game and he dropped 3or 4. he whined last year that the cowboys didnt get him involved enough when they threw to him more times than anybody and he led the league in drops. he whined about a contract that he signed with philadelphioa terring up that team and dissing and whineing about donovan mcnabb saying that if brett favre was on that team they would be undefeated, but forgetting 05-06 was one of brett favre worst season and mcnabb played hurt during that season. he threw subtle jabs at bill parcells saying we have a coaching staff and that knew what they were doing to a second round exit with wade phillips, after the super bowl not careing if they won the game or not he paraded how everybody doubted he could come back the ankle injury and how much of a warrior he was he didnt say nuthing about the game it was all about him.

he played well in super bowl well before anyone thought he would come back as well no excuses he layed and egg with the cowboys. and he told deion on nfl network im going to play at a high level a "real high level" and he played at a real low level. all good recievers draw double coverage but they was playing him stragight up in that game and he didnt come threw romr made some bad plays in the game but owens should have been more productive or kept his mouth shut before the game. it's not like he jerry rice or randy moss when it comes to double coverage he is not doubled every possieon like they are he had oppoutunites he didnt come through and yes the rest of the cowboys didnt either when you on the field you healthy to me if you hurt dont play.

so you wouldnt of gave the mvp to tim duncan in 02 and allen iverson
in 01 right you would of gave shaq all 3 you said it goes to the best player in 93 you wouldnt of gave the mvp to barkley jordan right and 97 when malone won it if you give it jordan as well. magic and bird would of won all the mvp in the 80's right. reality is only way kobe could win the last two years is if no other players really stand out nash team won 54 games without they second best player dirk team won 67 games im not giveing the mvp to a person team that wins 45 and 42 thats not enough victories no player has won the mvp award in like since jordan in 88 without winning 55 games at least. that is a criteria there david jordan won 50 in 88 but after that every other team has won at least 55 games, and you said he carried the team to me carrying a team is what allen iverson did in 01 or lebron did last year iverson carried a team to the nba finals in 01 with aaron mckie as his second best offensive player. kobe team went 15-26 in the last 41 and 2-15 in march thats not carrying a team anywhere in my opion when you carry a team you put up numbers and your team still wins how you carry a team and your team is constantly loseing.

At Saturday, January 26, 2008 4:46:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


TO is one of the most productive receivers of all-time, so however many he may have dropped he more than made up for it.

The Cowboys offense was more productive this year than it was last year; during NBC telecasts, John Madden consistently made the point, last season and this season, that the Cowboys should throw the ball to TO early and often. Parcells hurt the team because he wanted to prove that he could win without throwing to TO. By the way, TO led the NFC in receiving TDs both seasons, even though he missed a game and a half this season.

Are you really sure that you want to compare Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb as QBs? I'd think that one over a few times. TO risked his career by coming back early to play in the Super Bowl and he was the best player on the field. If the Eagles were smart, they would have paid him his money and they would be a better team for it. After TO left, they sank in the standings and the Cowboys moved up.

Saying that TO did not care about losing the Super Bowl is not only unfounded, it is stupid.

TO made so many plays in the first half against single coverage that the Giants had to double him, which left other receivers open. Romo did not make any plays in the second half.

Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver of all-time. I'd never say that TO is better than Rice. However, I'm pretty sure that you don't want to compare TO's playoff numbers with Moss' playoff numbers. Moss has two more receptions during these playoffs than I do and he doesn't have a high ankle sprain like TO does.

I have no idea what you are talking about regarding MVP races from several years ago. How would you know what I think about those races? Did I do a post about them? I have said that Shaq should have won the MVP in '05 and that Kobe should have won the MVP in '06 and '07.

LeBron's Cavs have one of the best frontcourt rotations in the league with Z-Gooden-Varejao, as I discussed in a recent article. Iverson's Sixers had the defensive player of the year, McKie was the Sixth Man of the Year and Lynch and Hill were very solid forwards. Kobe's supporting cast is playing better this year but last year they did not play nearly as well and the players who were playing well got hurt.

Where did you get that 2-15 number? The Lakers were 5-9 in March 2007. Five of the nine losses came on the road. In the five games that the Lakers won--all in a row, saving the season and making it possible to go to the playoffs--Kobe completely took over, scoring 65, 50, 60, 50 and 43 points--that's an average of 53.6 ppg! He averaged 6.8 rpg in those games and shot 91-173 (.526) from the field. Kobe was already having a great season but in that stretch he took his game to another level. It is worth repeating that his scoring average after the All-Star break was the highest in the past four decades, so please don't try to say that "all" he did was produce in five games--as if anyone else in the league could put up those numbers.

At Sunday, January 27, 2008 11:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

when someone gets beat they always make excuses ive contunially beat you on arguements and you twist my words and make excuses for your favirote players.

to is one of the greatest recievers of all time i know that. my point was he was thrown too 8 or 9 times a game in sanfrancisco 03-04 and he still whined that he wasnt getting involved enough. he was thrown too more times than anybody year 06-07 and still whined he wasnt involved in the offense enough on top of that he dropped alot of balls which made his whining even worse. i never said that to wasnt a great reciever so saying he was one of the greatest of all time was irrelvant i know that. you said cite specific whineing i did.

parcells threw to him more than anybody how did he hurt the doing that. To hurt the team by dropping balls that should of been catches and touchdowns he had like 20 drops led the league. facts is he got thrown too alot both years.

the year this happened was 2005-2006 look at favres stat that year he was no better than mcnabb and definetely the eagles wouldnt
of been undefeated with him. iknow favre is a better player career wise. but his 20td 29 int was not going to make the eagles any better he slighted mcnabb like he does all his quarterbacks just to be a jerk. also they went to 3 nfc championship games without him and won the 2 games 04-05 without him vs minnesota and the falcons. why didnt To carry the cowboys this year or last if he so important or won any superbowls david. he was at his best with the eagles he should of never left either

jerry rice is the greatest of all time and moss right behind him to me so theres no need to argue that but To should of got open on the single coverage he was seeing he was killing the giants right? he had 49 yards nuthing in the second half he ran his mouth and didnt deliver.

after the superbowl he said nuthing about the game. he talked about how much of a warrior he was and how everybody doubted him. to this day he never said i was dissapointed we lost the game no matter how great i performed it doesnt matter cause we still lost. no david he was focused on himself as always. he cared more about how he performed then if they won or lost.

you said the best player in the league should get the award well shaq and jordan was the best players in the league in 93 when barkley won it 97 when malone 2001 iverson 2002 duncan 2004 garnett 2005 nash. would you of voted for them? no you wouldnt of cause there name isnt kobe facts is no matter what kobe does you would give him the award when all real logic says he shouldnt get it. he is this year but the last two he was not.

iverson had no real help that year aaron mckie at best was a role player mutombo was good defensively but limited offensively ai carried that team scoreing 50 points twice agianst toronto the 48 point game aginst lakers the 3 40 point games aginst milwaukee, thats carrying a team kobe was great and put up numbers but when your team is consistently getting l's your not mvp and your not carrying a team.

lebron scored 48 in the biggest game of the season aginst a great defensive team, they knew he was going to get it and no on cleveland wanted it and they still couldnt stop him.

he played great at that stage that was a five game stretch will averaged 50ppg 25 rpg and bill russell won the mvp that year because his team won 62 games to wilt team 49 mvp is most valuable not best player most skilled most outstanding. the player that team is good and wins is the most valuable.

At Monday, January 28, 2008 3:49:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


The only things that you have "beaten" me in are citing statistics that are either false (the Lakers were not 2-15 in March last year) or misleading (unadjusted field goal percentages in a small, unrelated sample of games--a stat you obsessed over in a previous discussion) to support poorly reasoned beliefs.

The reason that I mentioned that TO is one of the greatest receivers of all-time is that his production outweighs a few drops and/or a few comments that he has made along the way.

Dropped passes are not even an official statistic. Who decides if a pass is dropped or if it was uncatchable or if it was poorly thrown or if the defender made a good play to break it up? Catches, yards and touchdowns are not subjective and TO has produced plenty of those. TO played most of last season with an injured finger that required surgery and that made him a bit less surehanded than usual--and he still had a great season.

Did you ever stop to consider that maybe Favre would have put up better numbers that year if he had a receiver like TO? McNabb put up his best numbers playing alongside TO, as did Garcia. Romo hardly looked like a Pro Bowler in the game and a half that TO did not play (yeah, that's a small sample but it fits the larger pattern).

TO didn't "leave" the Eagles. They got rid of him. Look at the records for Dallas and Philly since TO arrived in Dallas and you try to make a case that this decision did not backfire on Philly. As Michael Irvin said, sometimes you lose your ass to save your face. The ownership loves McNabb, so they got rid of TO instead of trying to work with him.

Moss is behind Rice all right--way behind. Let's see him do something in the playoffs. Rice was a big game player.

Let's try this again: TO had 49 yards in the first half against single coverage while playing with an injury that normally keeps players out for another month. He was on pace for a 100 yard game. The Giants double-teamed him in the second half and Romo and the other receivers could not take advantage of this. I don't have the coaches' film that Ron Jaworski watches but from what I saw it looked like TO was not healthy enough to beat double-teams like he normally would--but just drawing that coverage provided a big advantage to his team that the Cowboys did not utilize.

Were you at the press conference? Did you hear the whole thing? Or are you basing your opinion on the soundbites that ESPN chose to show? TO deserves a lot of credit for playing in that game and for playing in the Super Bowl but he doesn't get that credit because a lot of people in the media don't like him.

There is no way that you could know what I think of the previous MVP races because I have not written about them here. I already have explained many times why Shaq should have won the 2005 MVP and why Kobe should have won the award in 2006 and 2007. For the record, I do think that MJ should have won the MVP in 1993 and 1997. That was when the media apparently got tired of voting for MJ and looked for excuses to honor other players. That was ridiculous.

That five game stretch was part of the greatest post All-Star scoring binge in the past 40 years. Kobe carried his team into the playoffs. If he had a Sixth Man of the Year like McKie and DPoY like Mutombo then his team would have obviously won more games.

You are entitled to your opinion of what an MVP is or should be but there are no explicit criteria. I think that the MVP should go to the best player and I have been consistent in saying that.

At Monday, January 28, 2008 10:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

everything i said has been true you called me stupid i beat you so bad in a argument lol.

To did only talk about himself and how great his performance was in that game nuthing else david i heard the whole thing after the game he said nuthing about the game just whined how nobody called him a warrior for comeing back early in the superbowl.

the facts was he whined both of those years when he was getting the ball thrown too him more than anybody. he should of been mad that at himself for dropping all those balls.

david he had the ball in his hands and he didnt hold on too it thats called a drop pass he led the league last year he had 13 in 03-04 he had a few this year as well. you called me stupid but apparently you dont know what a dropped pass is. the defender had nuthing to do with those balls he dropped them.

brett favre wouldnt of made the eagles any better that year even with To they definetely wouldnt of been undefeated. To was a cancer that year and was one of the main causes the team went down whineing about a contract he signed. donovan mcnabb was who he wanted to play with before the 04 season and all of a sudden he wanted brett favre he didnt say nuthing about favre before 04 when he left san francisco he said he wanted to play with donovan mcnabb and the eagles. he was just trying to diss donovan and get under his skin and mess with him like he did garcia marucci parcells and andy reid he goes on and on with stuff to patronize people like a child.

i know moss is behind rice and rice is better especially in the playoffs. moss is still great never the less. and you talk about small sample kobe thing was like 20 games he shot under 50 percent scoreing 40 points, romo plays a game and half without To the last game was a throw away game when they already clinched homefield throught and you already say romo no good without him what a hypricrit.

he was single covered the whole game he said he was going to play great and he was ready and he layed a egg. and now you use the excuse he was hurt in the game because he didnt perform not shocking at all more To excuse makeing.

i dont have a problem with you saying kobe mvp as long as you say shaq and jordan was as well because they were the best players in the league too. i agree it is ridicolous they didnt give it to jordan because they got tired of giveing it to him every year. and kobe was great in those 5 games and in the second half last year i wouldnt give him the mvp because your team has too be better to me.

At Tuesday, January 29, 2008 5:39:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


We're rapidly nearing the end of this exchange because all you are doing is repeating yourself.

Here are some final thoughts to consider:

1) You heard "the whole thing" that ESPN chose to show you. Unless I am mistaken, the entire press conference was not broadcast live. The highlights focused on his comments about himself and when he cried while talking about Romo. That was not the whole press conference. You also have to understand that he is up there answering questions, not giving a speech.

2) Please cite your official source for this "dropped pass" statistic. It should not take you too long to find out that this is not an officially tracked statistic. Announcers do talk about it but it is not officially kept and there is not a uniform definition of what a "drop" is. On the other hand, we do know that TO annually ranks among the leaders in receptions, yards and TDs. He has consistently been a productive player on playoff teams.

3) Who said that the Eagles would be undefeated with Favre? The Eagles did not fall apart until after they got rid of TO, so your "cancer" theory is bogus. Whatever TO said about various people does not change the fact that the Eagles had their best season with him and have fallen off without him. The Cowboys just had the best regular season in their storied history with him as an All-Pro player.

4) Kobe has played several hundred games and has scored over 40 points in 88 of them, so to pick a handful of those games, arbitrarily choose a field goal percentage of .500 as a benchmark and then conclude that Kobe shoots too much is ridiculous for many reasons: you neglected to consider the fact that Kobe's team won most of those games; you did not consider the impact of the three point shot on his field goal percentage; you did not look at his other statistical contributions in those games; you cited no reason that .500 is a valid benchmark for a good shooting percentage in 40 point games (or any other games for that matter). Few NBA players shoot .500 now and even fewer shooting guards do.

5) Dallas did not play the last game and a half as if they were throwaway games; they had their starters in (unlike the Colts) and they were trying to score but they could not do so without TO. I acknowledged that this was a small sample size. Still, a game and a half out of an NFL season of 16 games is more than nine percent of the season. You like to focus on 20 Kobe Bryant games out of more than 800, which is a much smaller sample size--and your reasoning is completely false regardless of sample size, as I demonstrated above. On the other hand, it is obvious that teams could defend against the run and against Dallas' other receivers much more effectively when TO was not in the game.

6) TO was not single-covered the whole game, just like the Lakers did not go 2-15 in March 2007. You actually would do well in a mainstream media organization--you don't let facts get in the way of your conclusions.

7) We agree that MJ and Shaq should have both won more MVPs. Kobe was great all of last season; he was particularly great in the second half and he was spectacularly great in those five games. What the MVP voters did made no sense; they apparently voted Dirk and Nash 1-2 based on team record but then voted Kobe third because he is the best player--but there were other great players whose teams had better records than the Lakers. If they were consistent, then they wouldn't have voted for Kobe at all. It's like they know it would be wrong to leave him off of the ballot but yet they don't want to give him full credit. He was the best player in 2006 and 2007, his team made the playoffs and he should have won the MVP. The same holds true this year, although LeBron has really closed the gap.

If you can produce a complete transcript of the TO press conference showing that he said nothing about the team losing or if you can cite an official source for "dropped passes" then I am interested. Otherwise, this discussion--which has strayed pretty far afield from the NBA and which has become repetitive--is closed.


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