Given that Jersey fans are well served by Dave D’Alessandro’s Top 10 fulminations blog, I thought I’d try my hand at a list: the 10 things that caught my eye—and chafed my Blue Balls—from the first 2 games:
1. The Traitor
He’s back. Once the beloved and respected face of the Raptor franchise, this former fan favourite cum spineless bastard made his dramatic return to Toronto. That’s right; Nav Bhatia showed his true Superfan colours by giving up his extra ticket, and no doubt parking spot, to Michelle Carter for Game 1. A Flagrancy reader suggested a boycott of Bhatia’s Hyundai dealership; we propose complementary dashboard figurines of Judas Iscariot for all 2008 Accents.
I can’t believe I am writing this, but it may well be more frustrating to watch Vince Carter as a Net than as a Raptor. As we all know painfully well, VC can score at will when he plays aggressively, but instead, he takes the easiest shot available. As a Raptor, I would pray for the moment when he would drive to the hoop. He didn’t. Now, I am in fear that he will do the same. He hasn’t. Unrequited hope has been replaced with breath-shortening anxiety; this series needs to end.
3. Anthony Parker is Good
Lawrence Frank’s praise for Anthony Parker after Game 2 got me thinking: is AP the most complete player ever to wear
Nets Raptor red? The person who contributes the most across all aspects of the game, on and off the court? It seems he’s good (not great) at everything. And what title of respect and admiration does he earn? Glue-guy. Almost demeaning. The NBA should take a cue from Hollywood give out an award for the best player in a non-starring role. I'm serious.
4. Kidd is
He’s a Hall-of-Famer, a triple-double machine, a sublime player who makes his teammates dramatically better (and richer—see Scalabrini, Kittles, Martin). Yet, everyone seems cold on this guy. Is it because he doesn’t blink? I don’t get it. And while we’re on the topic, who would be the player that degrades teammate value the most? Iverson? Marbury? I’m guessing Stephen Jackson—hard to get a raise when you’re obligated to dodge car grills and hot lead.
5. Jumping the Shark
Fact: The Nets are a team clearly on the downswing. Question: Is it because Richard Jefferson, Vince Carter, and Jason Kidd are all starting their decline at the same time? Or, is Kidd just declining, and the sycophants suckling on his teat of greatness are suffering accordingly? Hint: the milk’s gone bad!
6. Greatest Story Never Told
I am still shocked that no one has picked up on the storyline that Kidd and Carter both filed for divorce within months of each other. You say coincidence, I say Toni Braxton.
7. Sam Mitchell, COY
I have to think Colangelo is thrilled with this. Not because Sam won it, but because it sets up the best-case scenario for replacing him. Performance and accolades aside, Smitch is not Colangelo’s guy. Now, Mitchell can receive a hefty pay raise with Charlotte or Indiana, and BC can save face by appearing to lose a bidding war for the popular coach. Wait…was this BC’s plan the whole time? Goddamn you Brian Colangelo you genius! We are all but pawns in your glorious game!
8. Red T-Shirt Controversy
And the Raptor marketing folks do it again. Yes, the same people who brought us “Fireman”—the half-time performer who lit himself on fire, before spilling gasoline on the floor and delaying a 2000 playoff game—gave out 20,000 ‘New Jersey red’ t-shirts to home fans before Game 1. Dubiousity aside, it was Richard Jefferson’s taunting post-game comments that riled fans. RJ, please. If you want Toronto fans to support your team, The Flagrancy will happily crack open the Raptorphernalia coffers and supply ACC-dwellers with Jason Kidd wife-beaters, Cliff Robinson hukka pipes, and North Carolina graduation caps. Hell, we’ll even auction off a few stolen laptops signed by Marcus Williams! Go Nets!
9. Small Forward (aka The Achilles Heel)
Think BC is kicking himself for not calling Pippen’s post-retirement bluff after watching Joey Graham start Game 1 and 2 in the fetal position? NBA scoring perimeter players are supposed to be a dime-a-dozen, yet the post-Garbo Raps are in obvious need of an upgrade. If BC is such a front-office innovator, can’t he swing some version of a 5-for-1 deal with a team for an average small forward? We can send them Luke Jackson, Mo Pete, Joey Graham, Juan Dixon, and a re-signed P.J. Tucker—they can have one, or all of them. Hell, they can try each of them out for a week—keep who they like, send back who they don’t! Interested in a time-share? You get the idea.
10. The (Italian) Elephant in the Room
Now I realize that he is a rookie, that he is still rounding into shape from a long layoff, and that he is appearing in his first playoff series—but what the hell happened to Bargnani in that operating room? Seriously, I didn’t think the appendix played a significant role in the human body, but apparently it is instrumental in shooting accuracy and general basketball acumen. Cut him open, and stick that motherfucker back in!
On a personal note, I am scheduled for Achilles tendon surgery tomorrow. I met my doctor today, and he literally gave me the Garbo option (my words, not his) of freezing my lower body so I could remain awake for the procedure. I asked for 6 weeks of general anesthesia. I am almost positive he knew I was joking, but who knows--it is Amsterdam.