Posts Tagged ‘Pete Maravich’

Wolves Set Up To Howl Once Again?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you put your ear against the wall outside the Target Center, you can still hear the calliope music coming from inside. The Timberwolves’ merry-go-round continues.

Ricky Rubio is coming and Kurt Rambis might be going and that means the latest redevelopment project in downtown Minneapolis is back on track, assuming that general manager David Kahn doesn’t take another point guard in the Draft.

But seriously, after two years of running in a knee-deep snow with back-to-back records of 15-67 and 17-65, is it possible that Kahn’s vision for the Wolves comes from some place other than acute hypothermia?

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Greatness: Is a ring the thing?

Admittedly it’s a fun topic, if for no reason than to poke a stick at our big cuddly bear of a buddy Charles Barkley and listen to him growl.

In fact, of all the great comedy routines ever done on TNT over the years, my favorite has always been Kenny Smith manning the velvet rope outside the “Champions Club” and laughingly taunting the well-known partier Sir Charles about his lack of credentials to get inside the door.

Occasionally, Smith would push open the door to let the sounds of dance music come and poke his head inside.

“Hey, Charles!” he would call out. “Look, it’s Mark Madsen! And Zan Tabak! Oh, Charles, look! It’s Jack Haley! Can you believe it? Jack Haley!”

It was a fantastic skit and all Barkley could do was shake his head and laugh, because, of course, after 16 often-mind-blowing seasons, he left the NBA ringless.

So here we are just hours from the start of the 2011 NBA Finals that feature LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki as unfulfilled stars, pondering again the question for the ages: Does greatness require a ring?

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Mavericks Prepared For Anything

DALLAS — As they filed off of the court Thursday afternoon the Dallas Mavericks looked like they had just been through a training camp practice.

They’ve had so much time off since clinching their spot in the Western Conference finals, with last Sunday’s win over the two-time defending champion Lakers, the Mavericks have had to lock back down and get into training camp mode as they wait.

They know they’re going to face a team in either Oklahoma City or Memphis that poses far different challenges than what they saw from either Portland in the first round or the Lakers in the conference semifinals. Neither team can match the Mavericks’ collective experience, but they’re young and more athletic, for whatever that might be worth at this stage of the season.

“In many ways all that stuff is out of the window when you get to this point,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said after the practice ended. “Whatever teams gets to the third round will have won two series to get to this point. They will be a in a groove and they will have a lot of confidence, so at this point I don’t believe those teams will be thinking about how inexperienced they are. They’re going to keep playing.”

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The Big Shaqtue!

DALLAS — Shaquille O’Neal has sported many nicknames throughout his colorful career, most of them products of his own, entertaining imagination.

We wonder what the “Big Statue” sounds like to him? (Click here to see the what the proposed statue would look like.)

The four-time NBA champion and self-proclaimed “Most Dominant Ever” will get his own bronze statue outside of LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center’s new practice facility on the campus in Baton Rouge, per a report in The Advocate.

From the sound of it, this could be one of the best statues of a former player to be erected anywhere.  A 900-pound statue of Shaq smashing like he did during his LSU days … classic:

The tentative plan is to unveil the statue during the NBA off-season, said LSU associate vice chancellor for communications Herb Vincent.

… At age 39, O’Neal is currently the oldest player in the NBA and is likely near retirement, having struggled with injuries much of the season. He ranks fifth all-time in points scored in the NBA and fourth in postseason points scored.Vincent said the four-time NBA champion was a natural selection to be LSU’s first statue of an athlete because he is an “iconic figure” worldwide. O’Neal also is the only LSU student athlete in any major sport to win a national player of the year award in college and an MVP award in the pros.

“We’re honoring him for his accomplishments … and it’s a good recruiting tool,” Vincent said.

The $70,000 project is privately funded, he said.

“It’s already been done,” Vincent said. “It’s in storage.”

Not even Pistol Pete got a statue at LSU, so that should tell you what sort of esteem O’Neal is held in by the LSU faithful, as passionate a group fans as there is anywhere.

Since no one in Los Angeles is talking about adding a Shaq statue outside of the Staples Center, he might as well get bronzed where he can.

And you remember collegiate Shaq, don’t you? He was an absolute monster:

All-Time All-Star Team

ATLANTA — Please join me as I take a step down fantasy lane wearing hi-top Converse and also a sleeve on my shooting arm. Yes, this is about combining the old with the new and coming up with the Ultimate All-Star Game, pulling players from the past and present.

Not every great player makes a good All-Star Game participant, though. I put a premium on the entertainers: the passers, the leapers, the dunkers of course and the improvisers. There are dozens of Hall of Famers that I don’t want near the game. Mainly, the gravity-challenged centers. I’d want Bill Russell, for example, if I’m trying to win a championship, but wouldn’t even give him a ticket to watch my Ultimate game, let alone play in it.

That said … here are my two squads, with some choices fairly obvious.

West Team:

Pete Maravich. The Pistol is, quite simply, the model All-Star Game guy, worth any price of admission. It would be fun just watching him pull up his floppy socks.

Magic Johnson. How about Pistol Pete and Magic on the break together? That’s a match made in YouTube heaven.

Kobe Bryant. It’s the only game where Kobe passes the ball.

David Thompson. Perhaps the ultimate finisher the sport has ever seen.

George Gervin. Because that’s how we finga-roll.

Connie Hawkins. Here’s the progression: Hawkins>Dr. J.>Michael>everybody else.

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Blogtable: Ray Allen — NBA’s best shooter?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Ray Allen: Best pure shooter the NBA has ever seen? If not, who’s your favorite?

David Aldridge: I never thought I’d say anyone was a better pure shooter than Dale Ellis — when Dale was on, the net didn’t move — but Ray is. Reggie was a great, great shooter but I think Ray has him beat, too. Everyone has their favorite spots on the court but it seems like Ray is more comfortable in more places than anyone I’ve seen (and I didn’t see the likes of Jerry West or Sam Jones in person).

Steve Aschburner: I’m always leery of superlatives in a public forum, because the moment you proclaim anyone or anything to be the “-est” in some category, someone or something pops up whom you neglected. Also, our culture’s collective memory goes back approximately 37 minutes, so it’s easy to forget or underrate someone from way back when. I can’t say with certainty that there’s anyone who was a better pure shooter than Allen, but I can produce a list of fellows who’d be in the discussion. Such as: Drazen Petrovic, Jeff Hornacek, Peja Stojakovic, Glen Rice, George Gervin, Ricky Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Barry, Chris Mullin and of course Reggie Miller. Then there’s my favorite, especially as the stakes went up: Larry Bird.

Fran Blinebury: Jerry West, Rick Barry, Pete Maravich, Bob McAdoo, Freddie Brown, Dale Ellis, Reggie Miller and Ray Allen are one helluva hallelujah chorus when it comes to making the nets sing.  But front man will always be Larry Bird — for the form, the clutch makes, for the cold-blooded confidence.  At the 1988 All-Star Weekend in Chicago, he walks into the locker room prior to the 3-Point Shoot-out and asks: “Who’s going to finish second?”  ‘Nuff said.

Art Garcia: Since I can’t include Jimmy Chitwood — the question does specify NBA — I’ll go through some of my favorite marksmen over my years watching the grand game. In no particular order other than rough chronology, I’d throw these guys into my list of faves: Larry Bird, Dale Ellis, Mark Price, Steve Kerr, Allan Houston, Glen Rice, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic. But above all, I’m going with Ray Allen. The release, the timing, the fundamentals, the temperament. All pure.

Scott Howard-Cooper: I’m not sure he’s even the best in the game now, never mind ever. Part of the debate is defining “pure shooter.” Does that mean strictly a catch-and-shoot guy? Dirk Nowitzki is a special talent, but with a repertoire that spans from the dangerous range of a spot-up shooter to fall-aways. Steve Nash is historically good as a perimeter threat, but never will never be among the scoring greats because so much of his focus has been getting the ball to other people. Allen definitely has the pure-shooter element, though, with the lightning release and feathery, arcing shot. He’s definitely very high in the discussion, along with Reggie Miller and others. I’m just not sure he’s ahead of Larry Bird.

Shaun Powell: Strictly from a visual standpoint, Allen’s form is so perfect, it should be a logo. The levitation, the soft yet secure grip, the fingertip release and follow through, so velvet. Best pure shooter? Best I ever saw. I notice you didn’t say best all-around shooter, though. While Ray could probably knock a tangerine through a loop earring, give me Steve Nash, whose career numbers are 90 percent from the line and 43 from 3-point, all the more impressive because of the added burden of ball-handling. And his hair often obstructing the view.

John Schuhmann: When I was covering the Heat-Celtics series last April, I showed up a few hours early for one of the games at American Airlines Arena. When I got there, I walked out to the court and encountered the Heat dancers warming up to my right and Ray Allen shooting to my left. And when it came to deciding which of the two to sit down and watch, the former NBA.com Dance Team Bracket champions were no match for the greatest shooter ever. His form is perfect, he’s shooting better than ever, and he’s been ridiculously clutch since arriving in Boston.

Sekou Smith: I’d love to hand Ray the crown since I’ve watched his entire (future) Hall of Fame career play out. But someone I know and trust, someone who has seen roughly 40 more years of basketball than I have so far in my life, warned me against calling anyone the “best ever” without careful examination. It’s easy to hand Allen the title right now because all of the other contenders can’t make a live impression upon us, since they’re no longer playing in the league. Allen is no doubt the best pure shooter of his era and certainly in the conversation for the best pure shooter the league has ever seen. And there is no doubt that he will finish his career as the most prolific 3-point shooter in NBA history. But I think this is a question that requires more than just a casual conversation. We’d need to slice and dice this topic in so many different ways (best from distance, best from the mid-range, best off the dribble, on the run, etc.) before we could come close a conclusion. There have been too many great pure shooters to come through the NBA for me to hand the title to Ray Allen, or anyone else, right now. As far as my favorite, I’ve always felt like Larry Bird’s stroke was sweeter than anything I’ve seen.