Pump Up Music: Trick Daddy f. Cee-lo and Big Boi -- "In Da' Wind"
The Big Picture: All praise Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats' first-ever All Star. There are other deserving players who did not get invites to Dallas, notably Josh Smith and David Lee, but Crash's inclusion on the roster is no source of ridicule, nor is it a traveshamockery. The keys to his selection?
Defense (2nd in DRtg NBA)
11.0 Reb/G (7th NBA, next SF has 7.3)
42.0 Min/G (Tied, 1st NBA)
22-22 (Bobcats' record right now)
He's the front runner for Defensive Player of the Year. He's the silent leader of a team making its first serious playoff push. And just as important to fans in Charlotte, he embodies a lot of what this fan base wants from its players: a hard worker whose biography is littered with instances when he could have given up, but worked his way past obstacles instead, and a guy who brings style and flash in an unassuming, selfless, package.
Now that he's an All Star and has received official validation from coaches around the league, here's hoping we see him get more tangible respect from referees and opponents as the season goes on.
One day, the Golden State Warriors will make sense. This crazy ride they're on will have to end, and someone will come bring order, and perhaps a big dose of sanity.
The players are not idiots. They can see what's happening. Monta Ellis probably had it right when he said he and Stephen Curry couldn't play together in the backcourt. As good as Curry is, neither he nor Monta is going to effectively guard the Kobe-Tyreke-Johnson-Jax-Thabo-Battier brand of Big Guard that at least half the league employs. It's more of an issue than playing someone like Stephen Jackson, or Anthony Randolph, or Corey Maggette at the nominal power forward spot because at least then, the undersized Warrior might have an advantage on offense against a lumbering type.
At 13-31, the Warriors are headed for another lottery season, despite having solid building blocks, from Ellis, to Curry, to Randolph, to Andris Biedrins. Hell, even Ronny Turiaf is well worth keeping around. The problem, of course, is that the pieces don't fit together, Don Nelson's lost what magic he had to begin with, and no amount of 6-8 swingman spackle can keep it together.
Continuing the conversation from yesterday's post about Dell Curry broadcasting a game in which his son is playing, I realized late yesterday that the Bobcats are missing a great opportunity.
Why not tell Dell to take the night off and hand color commentary to Stephanie Ready for Warriors games? She's got the chops, as shown during her occasional games sitting in for Henry Williams, it allows Dell to just watch the game and not worry about serving an audience, and it allows the audience to not have to parse the broadcasters' motives behind their every word.
Key to Victory: The Cats' offense has the capacity to grind away at the Warriors' defense, which in turn could affect Golden State's offense. I think they'll take a football mentality early, muscling up on the smaller guys, especially whoever guards Jax, and then later run on them after they've been pounded again and again.