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LEBRON VS. DWYANE
Posted by Rob Peterson on Nov. 30 2004 2:45 p.m. ET
WHICH SOPH IS MORE SUPER? YOU TELL US
All right, let's get this question out of the way right away.
Which second-year player is better: Cleveland's LeBron James or Miami's Dwyane Wade?
There. It needed to be asked. Why? Because right now as I type this, LeBron and Dwyane are the two best second-year players in the league. Sorry, 'Melo.
They're also the two best players in the East. Sorry, Shaq. Then again, the Big Fella says he wouldn't have it any other way.
(This report, however, begs to differ. But I digress.)
-- Palm Beach Post
Not bad for two guys who were basically bench warmers in Athens.
So, write us and let us know. We want succulent and juicy letters, because last week, frankly dear readers, the few letters in the Click and Roll mailbox were as dry as overcooked turkey.
"But, Rob," you say. "I can't decide. After all, I voted for both of them to make the East All-Star squad. What criteria shall I use?
You can use any criteria you want. For example:
"James is a more explosive leaper and more exciting in the open court."
"I'd rather start a franchise with Wade."
"No, Wade is only good because Shaq's on the squad."
"Wade had to adapt to a new position, point guard. And he never played it before he came into the NBA."
-- South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Well, LeBron's been Player of the Week in the Eastern Conference twice in the first month."
-- Cleveland Plain Dealer
We started it. You finish it. I'll give you my choice next week.
SHAQ AND KOBE, PART MMDCCCXXXV
What? More Shaq and Kobe stories? And it's not even Christmas yet? Why is this never-ending soap opera bubbling up again?
Hmmm... seems like being 8-6, as the Lakers are, isn't as good as being 10-5, as the Heat are. Still, being 10-5 isn't all it seems.
-- South Florida Sun-Sentinel
While one L.A. scribe asks whether the decision to trade Shaq and keep Kobe was business or pressure, reports have the Lakers' owner wanting to Buss and make up with Shaq.
-- Los Angeles Times (Registration required), L.A. Daily News
Meanwhile, Kobe's frustrated. With what or whom? According to the article, he's frustrated with everything.
-- L.A. Daily News
Maybe this is why Kobe's frustrated: The Clippers are hotter than the Lakers.
-- Orange County Register (Registration required)
ALL HAIL THE CLIPPERS
Speaking of the Clippers, if the season ended today, at 9-6 they'd be the seventh seed in the West and their STAPLES Center counterparts would be on the outside looking in.
Strange, ain't it? In addition to the consistent and solid Elton Brand, the rapidly improving Marko Jaric and the rugged Corey Maggette, how are the Clippers winning with guys such as Bobby Simmons and Mikki Moore, both former NBDL players and Quinton Ross, a skinny, undrafted rookie from SMU? These aren't your father's Clippers.
Well, maybe not yours, but they are my father's Clippers.
(Full disclosure: My dad has been the video coordinator for the Clippers for the past two seasons. For the 16 seasons before that, he was VC for the Bucks. Which two teams in the league do I "keep an eye on"? Take a guess. And no, he didn't get me this job here.)
Dad (right away): "NBA TV is out here doing stuff on the Clippers."
Me: "So, things are going well?"
Dad: "Guys have confidence now and we're playing better defense. And that's with three of our better players out: Kerry Kittles, Corey [Maggette] and Shaun [Livingston]."
Me: "So, what's the difference this year? "
Dad: "I think they're starting to catch on to Mike's [Dunleavy] system on both ends. They're making better passes and taking better shots. We're leading the league in assists.
(He's right. The Clips are averaging 24.6 dimes per, best in the league. And they're leading the NBA in field goal percentage too, .484.)
"Defensively, guys are helping out their teammates and not just worried about their own guys. They're anticipating what other team's doing. It's much more instinctual this season. Guys aren't having to think about it."
Me: "So, can I give you all the credit?"
Dad: "Hahahaha! No. Mike does do a lot of his teaching through video. My direct contribution is minimal, but it is part of the overall scheme."
Me: "Who's surprised you most this season?"
Dad: "Shaun Livingston. He's a much better defender than I thought he would be. He's an NBA caliber defender at 19. Too bad he's going to be out for eight weeks.
"A lot of people are talking about Simmons as the Most Improved Player, but we saw glimpses of that last year."
(Note: Simmons has really stepped it up this season. He has a chance to do what only one other player (Kevin McHale) in NBA history has done: finish in the top 10 in shooting and free throw percentages.)
-- L.A Times (Registration required)
Me: "Mikki Moore's playing well."
Dad: "And Mikki Moore, I know he's been a journeyman, but he's really stabilized the second unit. And he's been in the games at the end. How long has he been in the league? Eight years?"
(Actually, this is his seventh season.)
Me: "What about Chris Wilcox?"
Dad: "Wilcox has made great strides, too. He's been more consistent. Last year, he'd be great, then mediocre. We've had what 15 games and he's only had one or two games where he hasn't played well."
"It's about getting more comfortable with the system."
The three Cs: Comfort, consistency, Clippers.
TWO WEEKS' NOTICE
We don't like to gloat here at Click and Roll, but we wrote about Seattle two weeks ago
! It seems like everyone is taking note
now that the Sonics are a stellar 13-2. Oh, it's good to be ahead of the arch, er, arc, er, curve.
Then again ...
The subject of our first overly fawning Click and Roll of the season, the Utah Jazz, have recently found themselves in a bit of a pickle.
First, they lost to the Hornets and the Bulls at home, giving those two teams their first wins of the season. Then against the Spurs, the Jazz's Mr. Do Everything, Andrei Kirilenko, sprained his knee. How hurt is he? Well, he'll miss at least five games after being placed -- gently -- on the injured list, but it could be as long as six weeks.
-- Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News
DID YOU KNOW...?
... That the last three Friday night ESPN slates have featured either the Pistons and the Pacers or both? (And you know what happened then...)
As for what's happened to the teams since the incident at the Palace, read the first paragraph in this story. Interesting, no?
-- Detroit Free Press
Houston? They have a problem
. It's called chemistry.
-- Houston Chronicle
By the way, what's the statute of limitations on "Houston, we have a problem" references? I mean Apollo 13 was released nearly 10 years ago. And does any actor have more of an influence on sports writing than Tom Hanks? Houston we have a problem, Sleepless (Scoreless, Defenseless, etc.) in Seattle and "There's no crying. There's no crying in baseball!" Hell, he even made a volleyball seem real. Hanks is grossly underrated when it comes to sports quotes. OK, I'm done now.
Remember all that potential talent Larry Hughes had? Remember how some have said he left that glass half empty? Now, that glass is overflowing as Hughes has been huge for the Wizards.
-- Washington Post (Registration required)
I wonder if Doc served this dish cold.
-- Boston Herald
What's Phil Jackson doing these days? Read this to find out.
-- Chicago Tribune (registration required)
This man will miss Hubie Brown. So will the Grizzlies.
's Phil Taylor thinks that the NBA should take Vince "I'm Not Gonna Dunk Anymore" Carter at his word and put the kibosh on the dunk
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said that not being able to dunk in college (it was banned at the time) helped him become a better all-around player, so Taylor's theory may have some weight. But banning the dunk? That ain't gonna happen. I think too much excitement would go missing. It's up to the players to add more to their offensive repertoire.