6th Fan Blogger: Bucks vs Pistons - 02/09/10
February 9, 2010
Let's flash back to Nov. 1, 2006. The Bucks were opening the season in Detroit, and Charlie Villanueva was making his regular-season debut in a Milwaukee uniform. The Bucks would proceed to pull off a 105-97 upset win, with Charlie and Andrew Bogut showing the kind of on-court chemistry it usually takes teammates years to develop. Following the game, I remember thinking that — to steal a line from "Casablanca" — this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
So what happened? Charlie owns the kind of offensive talent that few power forwards in the NBA can match. He was, seemingly, the perfect complement to Bogut. The one thing keeping these two potential cornerstones apart: defense, as in Charlie didn't play enough of it.
Which got me thinking, what makes a good defender a good defender? To be a professional basketball player, one must possess a certain level of athleticism and physical tools. Some might be a little more advanced in these areas than others, but there are no 3-foot-7 players with 36-inch wingspans who run 40-yard dashes in 8.6 seconds. The physical tools are there to be able to compete on the defensive end. To me, it comes down to two kinds of desire: the desire to be great and the desire to survive.
Those who desire to be great are the Jordans, Kobes and LeBrons of the world. They want to dominate all facets of the game and have the ability to do just that. Those who desire to survive are the Ben Wallaces and Bruce Bowens of the world. They don't have the kind of talent to make it in the league on offensive prowess alone, so they must play all-world defense in order to survive.
In Charlie's case, he has the talent to make it in the NBA on offensive prowess alone. There's no doubt about it. But this natural ability means he can continue to get paid obscene amounts of money while providing lackluster effort on defense. Unfortunately, Charlie's personal philosophy on defense is what kept him and Bogut from becoming the foundation of this franchise.
Oh, what could've been.
- Charlie Bell has assisted on 84 baskets on the court this season. Perhaps no assist was more appreciated than the one he gave off the court prior to tonight's game. While warming up, Bell slyly rolled a ball toward a couple seated courtside. The woman rolled the ball back to Bell. Charlie persisted, rolling the back to the woman and suggesting she give the ball a closer look. Upon further inspection, the woman noticed some writing on the ball that resembled a marriage proposal. And no, it wasn't from Charlie, but from the gentleman sitting beside her. Yeses and tears ensued, allowing Bell to bring at least one team together tonight. Classic Charlie.
- I don't know that I've ever seen an NBA roster as lopsided as Detroit's. The Pistons, with a heavy emphasis on guards, are built like a college team. They have four solid guards in Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum. While loaded in the backcourt, Detroit's frontcourt has to be the thinnest in the league. They could match up great with Villanova, but this lack of roster balance — if Detroit's 17-32 record is any indication — does not work in the NBA.
- There was a fan in attendance tonight sporting a Chris Webber jersey. No, it wasn't a Kings jersey, a Warriors jersey, or even a Michigan Wolverines jersey. It was, in fact, a Pistons jersey. I had completely forgotten Webber even played for Detroit, and for good reason. He only played 43 games for the team. How did they even have time to make Webber jerseys? I can't help but assume she also has a Hakeem Olajuwon Raptors jersey and a Glenn Robinson Spurs jersey stashed away in the closet.
- John Hollinger's most-recent column shed some light on who he thought was overrated and underrated in the NBA. While Hollinger gets credit for highlighting Bogut's play this season, he gets four demerit points for claiming Bogut has "an inability to challenge shots at the rim." Check your stats Johnny boy. He was averaging 2.1 blocks per game coming into tonight — fourth in the NBA — and sent back three more shots tonight.
- Does anybody remember what Hamilton actually looks like? Usually a gaudy facial accessory triggers a surprised reaction from me. That doesn't happen with Hamilton anymore. He's been wearing his face mask for so long that it doesn't even register with me anymore. Are we sure the mask has been permanently molded to his face? Does he wear the mask when he's eating Eggo waffles in the morning? Does he take communion wearing the mask? Give me something I can work with Rip.
- Squad 6 Chant of the Night: Prin-cess Tay-shaun clap-clap clap-clap-clap. Rinse and repeat.
Tonight's game was about as ugly as today's weather. The game was riddled with poor shooting, sloppy turnovers and some really awkward movements from Jonas Jerebko. Making matters worse was Gordon. He cemented his place among my most hated Bucks opponents tonight, cozying up next to Reggie Miller and Antoine Walker. His final numbers weren't great (18 points on 6-of-12 shooting), but he always seems to hit the back-breaking shot against the Bucks. I wish he'd just leave the Central Division. Mongolia would be good.
Work hard. Play hard. Type hard.