ESPN.com ran this column.... NBA 101: What this season has taught us....to highlight some of the oddities of the past season. Here are some of the one's I found interesting.
REAL PRESSURE. One of the most interesting stories of the year was an ESPN The Mag article on Utah's AK-47. His wife allows him one night of relations outside of their marriage each year. He's never used it yet....but the fact that the ticket is there is wild.
STAY WHERE YOU ARE. The Warriors' Mike Montgomery has flopped as an NBA coach....continuing a trend of college coaches not being able to make the leap to the league. Of course, these coaches earn magnificant bank....plus they get contacts that help them considerably when they return to college. Just ask Rick Pitino and John Calapari. Neither did much in the NBA....but both are back in college recruting the best players in high school who know that these coaches know what it takes to get into the NBA.
THE NBA, IT'S BAN-TASTIC. One of the biggest stories heading into the season was the dress code. It's all but been a non-story since. Now, onto the guys wearing tights ON the court....
TAKING THE BULLET. Two NBA rookies were shot this year. Julius Hodge in the legs and Aundray Blache in the chest.
CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. One of the relentless stories of the year was Larry Brown's return to New York. Well, it hasn't worked too well. (A) The Knicks have one of the worst records in the league (B) despite the NBA's highest payroll. Oh, and (C) Brown's old team, the Pistons, claimed the NBA's best record. To top it off, (D) Brown has gotten into it publically with Stephon Marbury and then (E) ended the season in the hospital. Not to mention that (F) the other guy in the running, Phil Jackson, has his Lakers back into the postseason.
BOGUT NOT BOGUS. One of the great oddities of the year is the lack of press for Andrew Bogut....the #1 pick in last summer's draft. Odd, since past #1 picks have been under such a microscope. Odd, since he is the highest profile rookie on a playoff team. He's not having a breakout star-struck season like Chris Paul....and he may never be that kind of guy. But dude is consistent and solid....and by playing in Milwaukee, he doesn't have to deal with the pressures as other picks may get.
EVEN EXPANSION TEAMS HAVE STUDS. The article touches on Gerald Wallace, the former Kings swingman who know plays for the Bobcats. Wallace is averaging more than 2 blocks and 2 steals this year. Only David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon have done that. Wallace has become one of the key building blocks for Charlotte. With Emeka Okafor, Sean May and Raymond Felton as draft picks.....with another high one on the way this year.....Wallace could get this team closer to a possible playoff march down the road.
SUPERSTARS CAN'T DO IT BY THEMSELVES. Again, Kevin Garnett will miss the playoffs. So will Allen Iverson. And Paul Pierce. And Ray Allen. And Yao Ming. And Tracy McGrady. In a league dominated by stars...this is quite amazing.
REEF AT LAST. For the first time in his 10 year NBA career....Shareef Abdur-Rahim will be in the playoffs. Rahim is one of the good guys and players in the NBA and it is nice to see him finally see the postseason.
BLOWOUT. We all knew that the Portland Trail Blazers were gonna take some lumps this year. They are young everywhere [they've spent their last 3 drafts by nabbing high schoolers] and their veterans are basketcases. So, it's no wonder that this team has lost games by 24, 24, 29, 29, 31, 32, 32, 33, 39, 39 and 45 points. But Sebastian Telfair did have that cool movie come out!
THE SUNS NEVER SET. Amazing that the Suns are the #2 seed in the West despite losing Q Richardson, Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudamire before the season started....and getting career years out of Boris Diaw, Kurt Thomas, James Jones and Eddie House. Of course, I did pick them to finish #2.
THE PRICE AIN'T RIGHT. I was thinking about this earlier today. Latrell Sprewell didn't take any contract this offseason....or any other during the season. The thinking was that Spree would latch on with a team on the verge to make a title run. That never happened. Most couldn't offer him more than the $5M mid-level exception....and he wanted more. He got nothing and will be one year removed from the game this coming offseason.
DRUGS MAKE YOU STUPID. For those who don't know....but the NBA has been one of the best leagues at stomping drugs from the league. Well, all drugs but the hippie lettuce. But after the cocaine era of the 1970s and early 80s....the NBA has done a great job a cracking down on it's players. This year, Chris Andersen....and Hornets forward....was busted for drugs and has been kicked out of the league for two years. Tough love, yes.....but a welcome deterrent. If MLB puts something like this in place....maybe their problems would go away much easier.
STILL VINSANE AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. Vince-anity is back....and Carter is back to his scoring and highlight performances. I just wish it was a bigger story in the New York area instead of how bad the Knicks suck.
DO WE GET A VOTE. One of the most touchy subjects is the Hornets. They were moved from New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina buzzsawed their city. Oklahoma City embraced them, filled the arena, energized the team.....and now they want to keep them. But how can the NBA just tell N'Awlins that their Hornets can't come back? And how can they tell Oklahoma City that they were just a hotel for an NBA franchise when it is obvious that it is fertile ground for a franchise like this? This will be a tough one.
GET INTO MY CAR. Carmelo Anthony is getting back to his elite status. He wasn't an All Star....but may get a few MVP votes. He's the King Of the Game Winners....and is the reason that the Nuggs are a playoff team.
EVERY DOG HAS IT'S DAY. The Clippers are in the playoffs. Despite this being a forgone conclusion for months now.....it will still be weird to see them there next week. And they may have homecourt advantage.