Posted Apr 7 2011 10:37AM
A number of people would love to take a mulligan on a game or two. But an entire season?
It's quite fitting that we use a golf expression, because golfing is what many folks will escape to next week. The 2010-11 NBA season didn't work out for a variety of reasons for those folks. Injury. Poor choices. Lousy luck. Or circumstances mostly beyond their control.
Here's a list of individual and teams who, for one reason or another, wish they had a do-over:
Deron Williams: Coach-killer. Team-killer. Those designations are damaging and probably not totally fair, and yet there's a ring of truth to them for Williams, who brought tough-guy coach Jerry Sloan to tears and torpedoed Utah's season. It's astonishing how the player who was supposed to elevate the Jazz in the post-Stockton-Malone era wound up punching them in the groin. Karma sent him to the Nets.
Baron Davis: When he showed up at camp with a few extra rings -- and we don't mean on his fingers -- you knew this wouldn't end well. It was almost as if he was giving the Clippers yet another reason to dump him. Being heckled by owner Donald Sterling at courtside almost made you want to agree with Sterling for once. The emergence of Eric Gordon finally moved the Clips to pull the trigger. Karma sent him to the Cavaliers.
Timberwolves president David Kahn: He's a nutty professor who's trying a gazillion moves and hoping a few turn him into a genius. Well, we're still waiting for that one bit of brilliance that'll give the Wolves some hope. They're about to finish near the bottom yet again, and the number of solid building blocks on the roster are few. Not counting Kevin Love, who's a Kevin McHale guy, is there one Kahn-produced player that another team wants badly? Kahn's fate probably lies in the untested hands of Ricky Rubio, if he ever shows up.
The Maloof brothers: Joe and Gavin Maloof have gone from being the toast of the town to being toasted by the town. Money and arena issues will likely chase the Kings from Sacramento, and more than a few citizens are wondering if it all could've been avoided. After putting a scare into the Lakers during those classic playoff matchups in the early 2000s, the Kings have experienced a talent drought while burning through a few coaches. This season can't end fast enough -- for a variety of reasons -- for the (perhaps soon-to-be) Anaheim Royals.
The Phoenix Suns: They've gone from taking the Lakers to six games in the West finals to missing the playoffs. It's a swoon not totally unexpected given the defection of Amar'e Stoudemire. Lots of teams would suffer after losing their dominant big man. But bringing in Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress were mistakes that hardly made up for the loss, and the best players on the floor all season were aged 39 (Grant Hill) and 37 (Steve Nash). Oh, and the right time to trade Nash was yesterday.
Coach Larry Brown: He should've taken the Sixers' job last summer and spared himself and the Bobcats an uncomfortable parting of the ways. Instead, Doug Collins is pushing for Coach of the Year and has Philly in the playoffs while Charlotte is home for the postseason and needs an identity apart from its owner. The ending for Brown wasn't as bad as it was in New York, but it was deflating for a team that (foolishly?) thought he'd stick around longer.
The Detroit Pistons: First, they're about to be sold. Then it's on hold. Then they've found another buyer. And now ... what? It's been a messy season on the court and away from it, a once-proud franchise in shambles. On the one night when fans finally had the opportunity to rejoice, owner Karen Davidson was booed during the Dennis Rodman ceremony last week. The much-anticipated housecleaning is coming: Davidson, Joe Dumars, John Kuester, Rip Hamilton ... isn't it?
Gilbert Arenas: No longer a threat, no longer a curiosity, Arenas is now only famous for making money in great disproportion to his actual value. That happens when your knee undergoes three operations and your reputation takes a hit from a silly gun affair. At this point, the highest-paid sub in basketball history is just trying to carve out a place in the Magic rotation while providing a flashback moment or two. This isn't the type of player who'll convince Dwight Howard to sign an extension.
David West: He gets the Crummy Luck Award in a unanimous vote. West was having a fine season and all set for a free-agent payday this summer when he tore an ACL against the Jazz on March 24. Someone will take a chance on West, but will also wonder how much -- if any -- quickness was left on the operating table.
The Milwaukee Bucks: John Hammond tinkered with a group that was hailed as the biggest surprise of last season, only to see the pieces fit poorly. The Fear the Deer campaign came to a quick halt. Nobody in the locker room overachieved or raised their level of play, resulting in a long and disappointing season. From body language alone, you wondered if most of the players even cared.
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|Smith From Downtown|
Josh Smith buries a three during the first quarter.
|JT From Deep|
Jason Terry knocks down a three during the first quarter.
|Terry to Howard|
Dwight Howard takes the pass and finishes with an easy slam.
Trevor Ariza finishes with a powerful slam during the first quarter.
|Bullard Joins GameTime|
Matt, Dennis and Brent talk with Matt Bullard before Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.