Sunday, February 27, 2011

The State of the NBA Pt. II...

Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic need a separate blog entry dedicated specifically to them, so here it is. The other day Howard was vocally critical of his team's performance, and this has everyone in the organization a bit jittery. As well they should be, seeing as the linchpin of their franchise is unhappy about how things are going. But to get to this point we must revisit the past, going back to before the Magic lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. This is where the seeds of their downfall began in earnest.

The Magic overpaid, by several tens of millions of dollars, for a one-dimensional shooting forward in Rashard Lewis, who at 6'10" plays like he's 5'11", can't stop anyone on defense and never, ever makes his presence felt in the paint. Even then it was difficult to imagine just how completely he would disappear in the playoffs, the exact moment when big-time players are supposed to earn their loot. Huge mistake, seeing as no other NBA team was willing to offer Lewis anywhere near the type of money and years Orlando gave him.

During that ill-fated Finals two years ago, coach Van Gundy showed the world that he is indeed the premier master of panic as he made one bone-headed move after another. We had Rafer Alston, SeƱor Skip-To-My-Lou himself, the glorified streetball player who actually managed to carve a niche for himself in the NBA and was extremely effective driving in and around the Laker defense. So what does Van Gundy do? He takes this guy out and puts in Jameer Nelson, who was a hollow shell of his former self due to an injury he suffered that should have kept him out for the rest of the season. Nelson fell short and played terribly but Van Gundy kept Alston on the bench.

After they lose, they get rid of young, talented guard Courtney Lee. Rafer Alston is also shown the door. They decide not to resign Hedo Turkoglu, and this is really when the parade of losers begin their promenade down the main street of the city of Orlando. The Magic at this point should have started their home games on the Bowery with this classic assortment of bums-Lewis, who, weak as his game was, started the year suspended for steroids (he must have tested positive for estrogen the way he was playing). They re-sign "White Chocolate" himself, Jason Williams, who after retiring comes back and plays himself out of the league with his typical white trash, methamphetamine game that was straight-up stupid even when he was younger and played on a better team. Next on the Hobo Hit Parade is Vince Carter. 'Nuff said with this pathetic clown, who has all the on-court grace of a doped-up wildebeest waiting to get tagged and bagged out in the plains of the Serengeti.

A depleted front line didn't stop general manager Otis Smith from trading their back-up center, "The Polish Hammer" Marcin Gortat for I don't know who. Does it matter? Ah, but the hits just keep on coming, with the addition of perennial asshole Gilbert Arenas (Agent "Zero Potential" himself) and NBA journeyman Jason Richardson, who's been on more teams in his career than Paris Hilton has had cocks up her ass. These two guys have added a lack of quality to the squad that beggars belief. At the very least Richardson can still play. He just doesn't seem capable of motivating himself. Arenas is a washed-up has-been who is still owed an incredible amount of money for the next two and a half years. Which is apropos given that he's got live, full-grown sharks in his backyard to feed. Yes, live sharks. I know there are some Mexican drug lords reading this and saying, "man, live sharks? That's over the top, even for us!!!"

And after all that, Coach Van Gundy still lets his "shoot-first ask questions later" point guard Jameer Nelson go minutes at a time without kicking the ball into the low post, frustrating Howard to no end. And motherfuckers want to know why Howard would ever consider signing with another team...

Look for Dwight Howard to go to any number of teams by next year. He is out. Depending on the salary cap structured under the new collective bargaining agreement, he may have to take less money than Orlando can pay him. But that is nothing in comparison to the money he can make in a bigger market like L.A. or NYC. This shouldn't matter. What should matter is getting on a winning squad, and Orlando has proven that with their front office making one special-ed move after another, they are incapable of grasping the nuances of running a winning pro basketball franchise.

Howard can always stay in Orlando for the money. And guaranteed the closest he'll ever come to winning a championship will be if the Magic face these guys in the NBA Finals-

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