Monday, June 13, 2011

An NBA Thought...

How's everyone feeling today? I feel like a million bucks and couldn't be happier. I had really put myself in a bit of a hole... I got myself to the point where I didn't think I could enjoy NBA basketball ever again if the Heat won the title this season. The reason why: if the NBA isn't about team basketball and playing the sport the right way and working hard 11 months of the year to get the title, but instead is about superstars colluding together to join forces and have fun on the beach and create a dominant team consisting of 3 players... well, then I couldn't have any interest in the NBA anymore. That's not a true sport to me. Sure, the Mavericks had two guys who you knew were going to score. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry are going to put up points. But can the Mavericks win without the defense and quick hands of Jason Kidd, or the explosiveness of JJ Barea, or the interior presence of Tyson Chandler, or the quirky effectiveness of Shawn Marion? Heck, even the 3-point shooting of DeShawn Stevenson was huge. They needed all of those guys to win. They needed Rick Carlisle to make a brilliant switch of the hard-working Brian Cardinal for the ineffective Peja Stojakovic (even though Peja was magnificent against the Lakers). They don't win the title without all of those guys. Do the Miami Heat play any better if you switch out Mike Miller for James Jones? Probably not. Did they get better when Eddie House replaced Mike Bibby? Not at all. Was Joel Anthony key in the series. Not in the least. The only truly important players on the Miami Heat are the three stars who couldn't make their former teams better and can't seem to make each other better.

I'm still a Cleveland Cavaliers fan and will be until the day I die (or until the NBA morphs into a league that doesn't interest me anymore), and I was certainly rooting for the Dallas Mavericks from the beginning of the finals because I hate the Miami Heat, but somewhere along the way before they even met up in this series, I started to love the Dallas Mavericks as well. It couldn't have been a better story. Guys on the downside of their career looking for a championship as the only accomplishment they still crave... and they had so many. Dirk, Kidd, Terry, Marion, Chandler, Stojakovic, Cardinal... all those guys are on the wrong side of their prime and most had already been to a conference championship or finals and lost. Team basketball in its truest sense, I mean, Dallas was basically the only NBA team to play an effective zone defense and stick with it for several minutes of play. They're unselfish guys with great personalities who say the right things to the media and the fans. I'll be rooting first and foremost for the Cavs next season, but I think that I will be rooting for the Mavericks to win their second title knowing that Cleveland won't be ready to get there just yet.

My wife was going crazy last night. I mean, she was even more excited than I was. She was pacing around our house during commercial breaks. She was living and dying with every shot, asking me to explain rules at different times or why as Dallas player had fouled a Miami player. She screamed and squealed with delight as the last seconds came off the clock, probably waking up our neighbors. It was fun. The whole series was so fun. It's almost as good as having a Cleveland team become champion... note quite, but at least I can understand that feeling a little bit now.

Today is a good day, even for us people "with [our] same problems and same lives." Thanks LBJ... that's the icing on the cake, buddy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

VT Basketball Adds Another Recruit for 2011

Coach Seth Greenberg has apparently been searching among the wooden clogged Dutch for another recruit. After the loss of Manny "Millions" Atkins, who has decided to transfer to Georgia State in search of more playing time (congrats Manny, you will certainly get it on that team), Coach Greenberg realized the need to bring in another recruit ASAP. With the questions around the health of our post players, Greenberg wisely chose to offer the newly-opened scholarship to Joey van Zegeren of the Netherlands. Joey is a 6'10" power forward. He is 21 years old and seems to have gotten a late start on his dream of playing for a US college, but I think this was a good move by Greenberg. It's really too late in the year to start looking around this country for a diamond in the rough for next season, so he did the smart thing and starting looking around Europe.

After first hearing this news, I got a little nervous that Greenberg was looking to bring in another Robert Krabbedam, who is also tall and Dutch. Do you all remember Krabbendam? Yeah the 7-footer with terrible hands, no vertical, no shooting touch, and no talents other than being tall. I remember him too, he sucked. However my fears are a little relieved in this day and age where every basketball player's highlights are on YouTube. This is the link for JVZ's highlights. Right off the back I am feeling a little better. JVZ obviously has a lot more athleticism than Krabby, and he's got a nicer shooting touch for sure with range out to the 3-point line. He also doesn't seem to have that stereotypical softness that a lot of other Euro bigs are deemed to have (and that Krabbendam had in spades). Is he an impact player? No probably not. He looks a little skinny for a post player, I'm not sure his post moves translate to the ACC, and I'm not sure about his funky looking shot either. But I think there's some potential there, and it's not all that raw. This looks like a guy who could step into a backup role right away... but I've certainly been known to be overly optimistic in the offseason. At any rate, Seth Greenberg should be commended for going out and filling an immediate need. Nicely done!