The McTen: Nov. 11, 2006
Posted Nov 16 2006 1:51PM
11/11: MAKE A WISH
Nov. 11, 2006-- I’m a newbie at the NBA.
I'm the youngest guy in the NBA.com Features Department by about six years.
My colleagues come in on Monday morning and talk about the cute things that their kids did over the weekend while I stay mute about my escapades with my friends staying out until 4 a.m. in New York City.
So, I empathize with the rookies in the league who carry the veterans’ bags and have to get the donuts in the morning.
Just like the rooks who are patiently awaiting their playing time, so too have I been sitting at my desk, cracking my knuckles in excited apprehension for that first big writing assignment to come my way.
Well, coach just looked down the bench and it looks like I'm going in sooner than I thought.
Welcome to The McTen.
The McTen is 10 observations, tidbits, factoids, ramblings, (whatever you want to call them) through the scope of my neophyte eyes and rolls out every Saturday -- just like an option quarterback in college. I'll also use what you have to say so get at me.
These are the 10 things I learned last week ...
1. Darrell Armstong still has something left in the tank
I spoke to former Orlando Magic GM John Gabriel in the preseason to get his take on the Eastern Conference teams and he cited Darrell Armstrong as a good pickup for Indiana. I thought he was just being a homer and rooting for a guy that he had on his Magic teams during the prime of his career. I thought that after only averaging 2.1 points per game in Dallas last season, Armstrong would be more valuable for his contributions in practice by being a vocal leader and a good example for the young pups on the Pacers. I thought wrong. Through six games with Indiana, Armstrong is averaging 8.0 points and 2.7 assists and playing 16 minutes a game. The 13-year veteran who turned 38 in June, is also hitting 61 percent from downtown. Armstrong, who drinks hot chocolate and eats candy before the games to give himself a quick energy burst, has jumpstarted the Pacers to 4-2.
2. Swat you very much
Portland's Joel Przybilla (try saying that name 10 times fast) has five blocks in just under 24 minutes played this season. When you throw that into the old "rejections per 48 minutes" calculator, the result is a whopping 10.03. It's nearly impossible for the 7-foot-1 center out of Minnesota to ever reach his double-digit swats per game potential however because Przybilla also averages 10.03 fouls per 48 minutes, which is a disqualification and then some.
3. Who you calling ugly?
“He's the most productive ugly player I've ever seen," was how Spurs coach Gregg Popovich described San Antonio forward Fabricio Oberto. "He looks like a bull in a china shop out there, but he sets good picks, rebounds his fanny off and makes great passes. He just knows how to play." I don't know whether to be more entertained by Pop calling his player ugly, or his use of the word "fanny." Well, Oberto must have wanted to change his coach's perception of him because his performance on Wednesday against Phoenix could best be described as "A Beautiful Line." The second-year forward from Argentina set career highs is points (22), rebounds (10), and minutes played (39). Those numbers are cute enough, but the beauty comes in when you consider that Oberto went 11-for-11 from the field.
***McExtra: In case you were wondering, the record for most field goals made in a game without a miss was by the Philadelphia 76ers' Wilt Chamberlain who shot 18-for-18 from the field against the Baltimore Bullets on February 24, 1967.
4. Lee and Roberson making Florida proud
The University of Florida lost David Lee and Anthony Roberson to the NBA in the spring of 2005 and went on to win the NCAA Tournament in the spring of 2006. Usually it happens the other way around. UNC won the championship in April 2005 then later lost Raymond Felton, Sean May, Marvin Williams and Rashad McCants to the league. Gator fans have it too good as their championship team is still in tact and ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls and two of their former blue and orange ballers are succeeding in the league. Lee is averaging 8.8 points and an impressive 8.7 rebounds for the Knicks and Roberson, who rarely got off the bench in Memphis last season, has landed in Golden State where he poured in 15.3 points per game in the preseason and dropped 15 vs. the Hornets on Tuesday. "Wise" from The LeBrons commercials would say that Lee gravitates to rebounds like "flies on shut your mouth."
5. Hawks fly together
OK, OK, I know the line is really "ducks fly together," but Atlanta's resurgence is Disney-movie type material and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. After only getting 26 wins a year ago, and only 13 wins two years ago, the Hawks are off to the best start in the East with a 4-1 record. They are putting five players in double-figures every night with Joe Johnson leading the way with his 29.0 points per game average (second in the league to Allen Iverson) and after starting the year with a loss to Philadelphia, have run off four in a row.
6. I don't want to hear that Kobe is a ballhog ...
Kobe Bryant's assists are up. He is dishing out 4.8 per game through five games which trumps his career average of 4.5. And when he is shooting, he is extremely ... Get ready for the NBA's new buzz word ... Efficient. KB24 is shooting 54.8 percent from the field. That's a big man's average, not a swingman. He is also making 83.7 percent of his foul shots. And, if his 4-3 Lakers can continue to grow as a team and mature, I stand by my prediction of him taking home the MVP.
7. ... Or Gilbert either, for that matter
Gilbert Arenas is having an even better season this year than he did when he vied with A.I., Kobe and King James for the 30-point plateau. The 6-foot-4 combo guard, now in his sixth season, is dishing out a career best 7.6 dimes per game and has kept up his frenetic scoring pace as he is averaging 28.8 point as well. Let's put it this way; he is the only player in the NBA to have two 40-point games in the NBA already this season and he has had two 11-assist games, one of them coming in a win against Milwaukee on Friday. He is also an amazing blogger. Shameless NBA.com content plug? You betcha.
8. Technically speaking
Referees are encouraged to throw a "T" a player's way more quickly this season if the player reacts in a demonstrative way after a proceeding on the court. This has been affectionately dubbed the "Respect for the Game" rule, but might as well be renamed the "Rasheed Wallace clause." 'Sheed is tied for the NBA lead in technicals with Tyson Chandler as they both have four. No. 36 has also been tossed from one game. It's not really an NBA season yet until Rasheed has been tossed though.
9. Didn't that guy win a dunk contest one time?
Brent Barry may have made his initial mark on the league by dunking from the foul line in his L.A. Clipper warmups, but now he makes his mark much further from the rim. Barry is shooting a gaudy 80 percent from 3-point range and has knocked in 12 of his 15 triple attempts this season. The Spurs guard isn' t the only one who has displayed an early-season shooting stroke; Kyle Korver of the 76ers is 12-for-20 on threes and 19-for-20 on free throws.
10. Steal for Sacramento
The Kings' Ron Artest is leading the league in steals per game, and it isn't even close. Artest and his 4.2 steals per game is more than a full swipe per game ahead of the Wizards' Caron Butler who is in second place with 3.0 per game. Contrary to popular belief, the eighth-year forward doesn't just say, "I'm Ron Artest. Give me the ball." He gets most of his steals by playing the passing lanes and using his size and reach to poke the ball away from the smaller offensive player he is guarding.
Have a question or comment for The McTen or care to share what you learned this week? Hit me up!