“Isiah has a ton of redeeming qualities”

“Isiah has a ton of redeeming qualities”


“Isiah has a ton of redeeming qualities”

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Isiah Thomas - Icon Sports MediaWhere do you see the NBA in the next 10 years or so? I have noticed that there is no lack of stars, but there is a serious lack of players that I consider valid HOFers or even team players.

The NBA will continue to thrive in the next 10 years for simple reasons – demand and popularity as a sport in general. Basketball is the most accessible sport in the world next to soccer. Basketball and soccer are the only sports that use two pieces of equipment – a ball and a net. You can set up a make shift rim or goal anywhere when it comes to those two sports. I have played with a rim on a garage, on a utility pole in an alley or on a nerf set in the house. You can say the same thing about soccer – a makeshift goal can be two soda cans or two pair of shoes.

They are the two easiest sports to set up a game and still have a scenario extremely similar to the actual game. Football, hockey and baseball are extremely difficult to simulate because of the excess equipment and playing fields and that is why they are not worldwide sports. Those three sports are also extremely expensive to play and the percentage of parents who could afford the expense fall below basketball and soccer

So for that very reason the NBA will be fine. Did you see the support in China last week for Cleveland and Orlando? It is scary how popular basketball might become in the next ten years and remember the NBA is the best basketball league in the world so it has no choice but to get better.

Don’t be fooled by the lack of potential Hall of Famers. The league has slowly shied away from over-hyping our players like they did over the last 10 to 15 years. The NFL has a perfect model when it comes to putting teams first and the NBA seems to be headed towards that model, which is a good thing. It should be about the teams anyway because the player you cheer for today could be the one you boo tomorrow because of trades and free agency.

Many people are surprised by how close the games are between NBA and European clubs during the preseason. Given its preseason (stars not playing normal minutes, free agents), do you think the outcomes are in any way reflective of how some of the European clubs would fair in the regular season NBA?

I think the talent level in Europe is very good and will certainly keep improving. And yes, I do think they could put together a few teams and compete on a nightly basis. That question is easily answered by the plethora of European players on NBA rosters and the fact that a German player won the MVP last year. The one detriment to any European club playing a NBA schedule is travel and that is why we will see a separate European NBA-style league before we ever see a team included in the NBA from Europe.

The preseason is what it is. Pre means before. It means nothing to the players who will be playing significant roles for their teams other than getting in shape and gaining their rhythm for the coming season. Don’t read anything into preseason. The Suns could go 0-8 in the preseason and I would still guarantee they will win 60 games.

Is James Dolan retarded and does Isiah Thomas have any redeeming qualities outside of having been a great player?

Now what are you basing that assumption on? What has James Dolan done wrong other than be loyal to the people he hired? I remember a few years ago when he hired Larry Brown and the New York faithful were ecstatic. I remember when Isiah brought Stephon Marbury back to New York and he was hailed for doing so. Now you want to call someone retarded who is not shooting jump shots? I have said this before and I will say it again… Owners don’t shoot jump shots. They pay others to do it and last I saw Dolan pays his players more than any team in the league.

Yes, I will say Isiah has a ton of redeeming qualities, but you really don’t want to hear that right now I am sure. I am positive you want me to talk about his ability to run an organization, right? OK, I will comment on that question. I give Isiah a B for acquiring players and slashing payroll and I give him a C for getting them to play at the level they should. Now remember Isiah should not even be coaching the Knicks. They hired arguably the best coach ever in Larry Brown and it did not work out, so whose fault is that? The prevailing argument is Isiah is the reason Larry Brown left. Give me a break. Larry Brown leaves a job for no one but himself and he has to the tune of many over his career. Can I say world champion Detroit Pistons? Isiah has to definitely step up this year and get this team playing at a level equal to its ability. The Knicks are a playoff team if they play unselfish and that responsibility falls square in the lap of Isiah Thomas. This could be his last year and maybe final opportunity in the NBA to prove it.

What is your outlook on the future performance of this year’s rookies? Who will compete for ROY and who will bomb?

I get this question every year and I hate it because I don’t like rookies and never have when it comes to predicting how good they will be. I thought Adam Morrison would be lights out last year, but he never turned them on. Brandon Roy won Rookie of the Year last season, but he does not wow me. Let’s face facts… Every five or so years we will get a rookie that knocks our socks off. LeBron did it a few years ago and now we must wait for the next one. Is it OJ Mayo from USC or is it Jerryd Bayless from Arizona? I will tell you now that it will not be Kevin Durant this year because he is not physically ready to deal with 82 games of pounding. He will score close to 18 a game, but his field goal percentage will be in the low 40s. It’s hard to be Rookie of the Year and you are on a young team and counted on to score and be highly productive every night. That’s why I will go with Al Thornton of the Clippers. Teams shied away from him because he was too old at 23 years of age. Big mistake, this kid has a mature aggressive game and if I had to pick someone he is it.

What piece(s) – except chemistry – are the Kings lacking to create a real basketball team?

They need a post game. Brad Miller is a power forward and he suffers having to play center on offense. The Kings want to run. Head coach Reggie Theus knows all too well that to offset bad shooting nights from a jump shooting team. He needs to find a player to throw the ball to in the post that can force double teams and get to the foul line. The Kings have not had one since Vlade Divac and Chris Webber.

I was wondering what is happening with Earl Boykins. I heard him very briefly mentioned regarding Cleveland and Boston around the start of the free agency period but have heard nothing since.

Earl Boykins is a dynamic player, but with one important problem: he is the smallest player in the league. Nice weapon to have, but at a good price. He will find a home before the season, but not at his price!

Why doesn’t Mike D’Antoni use his bench more? Last year, Jalen Rose could have helped a lot posting up and kicking out to the shooters.

You are correct about Jalen, but didn’t you think Mike had that in mind when they signed him? The problem was Jalen found out quickly that jumping into a running game and not getting your normal offensive looks was not as easy as it looked from afar. The Suns could not wait for Jalen to catch up and award him with 20-plus minutes and Jalen indeed suffered from the decision. Had Jalen come on board before the season, he might have gotten into the rotation – similar to what Grant Hill has done by signing and showing up early to get his body prepared for the track meet Suns. D’Antoni has stated numerous times this preseason that he will indeed stay with a 8 or 9 man rotation early on this season thus hopefully saving Steve Nash and Grant Hill from carrying a ton of minutes.

Where should Kobe go?

Kobe will go to whomever pays the price the Lakers are searching for. The only problem is that the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks are the only teams that can match talent and at the same instance satisfy Kobe Bryant’s desires. Well, let’s play elimination. The Mavericks will not work because the Lakers would want Dirk Nowitzki. Will not happen! The Suns would not work because the Lakers would want either Amare Stoudamire or a combination of Shawn Marion, Leandro Barbosa or Boris Diaw plus the Atlanta Hawks draft pick the Suns own for next year. Wishful thinking! So that leaves the Bulls and their enormous combination of young talent. This fit is the best because Kobe is the closest player to Air Jordan this game has seen and he would flourish.

Based on preseason play alone, can you make a prediction on which teams is really going to suck?

Minnesota, Charlotte, Memphis and Portland will play hard and compete, but they will struggle big time.

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