Lessons Learned

Okay, so it’s been a while. I have been inundated with schoolwork and in fact I should be working on it right now. However, you, the people, require near daily basketball interpretation and/or cool/funny pictures. So, hopefully I will provide a little of both.

The first issue that has been running through my mind like Usain Bolt on a coke binge is the whole Allen Iverson, uh, thing. I am very opinionated about the whole thing, I have written about it multiple times. My fundamental view is that Iverson signing with the Grizzlies was a bad idea, not necessarily basketball wise, but personality wise. He doesn’t have that type of personality that will bow out gracefully, recognizing his flaws and adapting to the situation. I have always felt that the right move for Iverson was to go to the Charlotte Bobcats and rejoin Larry Brown. That way, he could possibly start and be the focal point of an offense that needs scoring. Instead he is stuck as a reserve on a Memphis team that is ripe with infighting and futility. Lets put it this way: it’s so bad that Zach Randolph is the best-behaved player on the team.

The Grizzlies as a whole are a mess (OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay got into it with each other, 2nd overall pick Hasheem Thabeet breaks his jaw, and now Iverson is just gone from the team). The fact that Iverson is rumored to be pondering retirement speaks volumes about the man that Iverson was and is. He is a stubborn, but great, player who made no apologies for the way he carried himself on and off the court. He is the savior and the destroyer of the post-Jordan era of the NBA, the man who either inspired love or absolute hatred for his new age style of basketball and clothing.

The thing that really highlights what separates Iverson from his peers happened very recently. Iverson is relegated to the bench, which he knew before he signed with the lowly Memphis Grizzlies, and bellyaches to the media and hints at possible retirement. Rasheed Wallace, who like Iverson has seen his minutes and play diminish in recent years, has realized his own basketball mortality and accepted a lesser role for a chance to be on a potentially great team. Even the immortal Vince Carter just sat on the bench after missing warm-ups because he didn’t feel he had a complete grip on the scheme. He sacrificed his own ego because he felt that he and his team would be better served if he came off the bench. Iverson would never do that. Then again, it shows why and how Iverson won an MVP and Carter has not. Iverson has the mentality that the best chance his team has is if he wins the game, he has a giant ego, one that enables him to keep chucking up balls even though he struggles to sink half.

It is obvious that if Iverson isn’t committed to sacrificing playing time and his ego for the betterment of the Grizzlies, this little chemistry experiment will fail miserably. But what happens next for Allen? Is retirement really an option for this man, even without a title to add to his resume? I don’t know Iverson so I really can’t say, but I can’t envision him being satisfied with this less than storybook ending to such an illustrious and controversial career. One Michael Wilbon has suggested that Allen Iverson could go to the Cleveland Cavaliers and be the remedy to the struggling team.

Okay, lets break this thing down for a second. The Cavaliers have not had the same magic they had last year, and I feel part of that is Delonte West being absent or not entirely in the game plan. If this is a long-term problem, the Cavs will need to fill that void with a slashing and scoring 2. Is Iverson that piece? I can’t say that the Cavs would be better with him instead of a player like Stephen Jackson. And I am yet to be convinced that Mike Brown is the type of coach who can handle an Allen Iverson personality.

It seems to me that Mike Brown is only in Cleveland as so long as LeBron James is comfortable with his presence. Don’t get me wrong, I like Mike Brown as a person and think he has done tremendous things with the Cavaliers’ defense over the past couple of seasons. However, those aren’t the traits that scream true leader, a la Gregg Popovich, his former boss. Not that he can’t blossom into that type of coach; the supernova that is LeBron currently limits him. LeBron is the alpha dog in Cleveland and will be until he leaves or retires, so that leaves Brown to always be second in command despite his position as coach.

Basically, I don’t think it would work, and in addition I don’t think it will happen.

In the theme of uncertain transitions, lets talk about Brandon Jennings. Only a few games into the rookie’s very first season, he has already been proclaimed as a success and his time in Europe was very beneficial. All I can say is hold on for a while, let the kid breathe and play out more than a month of his career before we crown him the next big thing.

It wasn’t that long ago that he was the poster boy for bad decisions. He was struggling in Europe after skipping his potential college year before leaping to the professional ranks and seemingly everyone used him as the worst-case scenario for the David Stern policy of setting an age limit for the draft. Now, because he explodes for a couple of games, his time in Europe is viewed as a terrific learning experience where he played with better players than he could have in college, and subsequently learned far more than he ever could have if he followed protocol.

Now this is of recent interest because another player followed the Jennings route, only more radical.  That man is Jeremy Tyler, who has been called by his coach “fat” and “lazy”. He is going through similar things that Jennings went through, only Jennings probably was never ridiculed for his cankles. He is already being labeled a bust even though he hardly sees the floor and his former classmates haven’t graduated yet. Could it be a possible cautionary tale for young basketball players who think immediate money is more important than developing the proper technique for basketball? Sure, but so was Jennings until October 27th. We need to give this kid a break. Do I think he did the right thing? No, then again, I wasn’t being offered $140,000 to play basketball in Israel.

What does that all mean? I have no clue, the only thing I do know is that he should be provided more than a few weeks before we cast a decision about who Brandon Jennings is, just as we should of held off judgment when he was in Europe and barely playing.

Okay, so enough of that, lets talk about the Magic. I really like what they did with their roster in the offseason. I think it is foolish for people to think that Vince Carter has lost that much off of his game that he is clearly worse than Hedo Turkoglu. And I get the mismatches that Turkoglu presented for them last year, I thought it was the critical part of their Finals run from last season. However, Carter is more than capable of going off for 30 points on any given night, and you never really had that vibe from Hedo.

Plus the addition of Brandon Bass will pay dividends for the Magic later in the season when they want to play an almost standard lineup. It is still early in the season, which makes me upset when people have already written off some teams and consider only the Lakers or Celtics as the only options in either conference. Teams need to adjust to new players and that is going to take some time, possibly until the All-Star break. The Magic has not even had Rashard Lewis play a second of basketball because of his “steroid” problems. Any team, theoretically, has a chance to be a serious contender late in the season.

On to something a little less basketball-centric: The Real World/Road Rules challenge: The Ruins. I love all of the challenges since I was wise enough to start watching them. Each season starts with me telling myself that I have far too much to do and don’t feel like staying up late at night in order to watch it. Then, I catch a rerun sometime during the following week and I get drawn in. I know it’s really dumb and just of bunch of juiced up pinheads and vacuous bimbos interested only in money and sex, but I love it. It is a wonder to me how they don’t drop dead from any STD’s, they must have an unusual immunity to potential diseases.

Honestly, it may be one of my favorite shows to watch. There is constant drama because these people fail to realize just how insignificant it truly is, mostly because they will be coming back in a couple of months anyway. And its not like you need to watch every episode in order to keep up, it is pretty simple. Basically, you wont need a guide to it as every episode contains its own unique drama and often a bit of blurred nudity because of some drunken stupor brought on by a bit too much of tequila and some dark issues buried deep inside these titans of the meaningless arena.

This season has been full of love triangles and sometimes squares and pentagons, some underdogs rising to the top, and some deliberate sabotaging that didn’t affect the outcome of the game at all. This sounds like a deliberate plug for an MTV show, and if the good people at MTV wanted to sponsor us at PITP, we would plug any MTV show they wanted. I guess that is my TV update of the week. Unfortunately, it is nearing the end of the season so a lot of the juicy and needless bickering has already passed.

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One Response to Lessons Learned

  1. Isaias Vanpatton says:

    I’m looking towards seeing his MTV Awards performance. Russell Brand is an excellent observational comedian. Yes, he does offend from time to time, but then Lee Evans offends me by doing nothing but pretend to be Norman Wisdom each time he’s on the fucking stage!

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