The McTen: Nov. 25, 2006
Posted Nov 30 2006 4:53PM
ORANGE EYES ARE SMILING
Nov. 25, 2006-- Cleveland's throwback uni's are the best thing to happen to mesh since Beyonce performed at the 2001 NBA Finals.
The orange on LeBron's uniform was so eye-poppingly fresh on Friday night that I couldn't help but be swept away into a daydream imagining Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and King James all suiting up against Michael Jordan when he hit "The Shot" back in 1989.
You think Bron-Bron would have given MJ a little more of a challenge than Craig Ehlo?
Then my mind sort of blurred the "Cavs" from his jersey and replaced it with "Syracuse" and I became downright giddy imagining him and Melo putting on the orange together in 2004, going for back-to-back NCAA 'ships for the 'Cuse.
Then I think Naomi Watts entered the picture and LeBron became our waiter at a restaurant or something. You know how dreams go.
And now, these are the 10 things I learned last week ...
1. Rashard Lewis is having a career year
One of the things I like to do with The McTen is give a deserving guy some ink while everybody else is “sleeping" on him. Rashard Lewis, it’s your turn for some McLove. His scoring is up to 23.8 points per game after going for 20.1 last year and his rebounds are up to 6.7 per from 5.0. The 6-foot-10 slashing forward is also hitting .495 of his field goals and shooting .424 from three. When you talk about dominant players to go right from high school to the NBA, guys like Kobe, T-Mac, KG, and LeBron always get a mention, but what about Lewis, who is approaching 10,000 career points in his ninth season?
***McExtra: “Sleeping" on somebody is another term that those of you who are playing “NBA Speak: The Take-Home Version” should add to your vernacular. If I was talking to somebody and they said that the Grizzlies can't get it going this season, I would counter by saying, “Don’t sleep on my boy Hakim Warrick.” Meaning, Hak is nice and you need to respect his game.
2. A high scorer in the Rockies
Carmelo Anthony played on the US National Team this summer with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James as his teammates and was the squad’s leading scorer, and Melo has continued the net filling this season. Anthony is the league’s leading scorer through Friday, averaging 30.9 points per game after hitting for 30-plus in seven of his last eight outings. James is fourth in the league at 27.8 and Wade is eighth at 26.5. More importantly, the Nuggets are 7-4 after starting the season 0-3. He still hasn’t won a ring like Flash, or even a playoff series like King, but Anthony is putting in the work to get there.
3. See you later, Dajuan …
Dajuan Wagner, who once scored 100 points in a high school game and overcame losing his colon to make it back to the NBA, was released by the Warriors this week. I covered him in high school and he really was a magical talent. Let's hope he pops up on another League roster in the future. No joke or sarcasm here, I'm allowed to be sincere ... sometimes.
4. Nice to meet you, Monta …
The reason Wagner suddenly became dispensable for Golden State was Monta Ellis’ emergence. The second-year guard out of Lanier High School in Mississippi is averaging 18.1 points per game after dropping back-to-back 31-point games last week. And he had the sickest dunk of the year so far aside from LeBron putting one on Duncan’s head. The Warriors' small ball is fun to watch with Ellis, Baron Davis and Jason Richardson all over the floor and Nellie roaming the sidelines.
5. I took in the Sixers-Bulls game on Friday
Watching the Sixers without Allen Iverson is like watching The Sopranos without Tony – it just doesn’t work. After Philadelphia dropped both games it played without Iverson while he recovered from oral surgery, A.I. retuned to the lineup vs. the Bulls and sparked the team immediately. Iverson torched the Beat-a-Bulls for 46 points and 10 assists. It was the 75th 40-point game of The Answer’s career. Ben Wallace had zero rebounds, zero blocks, zero points and two fouls in 20 minutes and got benched for Mike Sweetney. With both Chitown and Philly struggling entering the game, the Sixers seemed to right the ship after going 1-7 following their 3-0 start, while the Bulls have lost nine of their last 11 games after starting off the season by waxing Miami.
***McExtra: While in the catacombs of the Wachovia Center covering the game, I was faced with a very peculiar situation. As I was taking in my surroundings, I took a look down a corridor and saw a scantily-clad young lady running in a full sprint towards me holding a basketball. I was mesmerized and couldn’t help but think: A) What the …? and B) I wonder if this is how Marion Jones met her husband. The girl, who was one of the 76ers’ rabbit mascot Hip-Hop’s “Hare Raiser” crew, flew into the air, did a Greg Louganis-like flip twist thing, and landed on a gymnastics mat that I previously didn’t see because I had been distracted by her bare midriff. The NBA, it’s faaaannnntastic.
6. Dwight Howard might have no ceiling
Having no ceiling would not only be a good thing for the 6-foot-11 center as he wouldn’t have to worry about straining his neck anymore to fit in the confines provided, but it would be a great thing for NBA fanatics like me who want to witness, well, greatness. Howard had back-to-back 20-point, 20-rebound games this week and has three on the season already. Joe in the United Kingdom put it like this, “Imagine STAT does get back to his old self, then imagine about four years ahead, with him, Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor filling block. (Expletive), that paint is gonna be rough...” When a future scenario gets my readers cursing, you know it must be worth fantasizing about.
7. That block was just plain silly
My college roommate used to say that when he saw Spud Webb throw it down in the dunk contest, he immediately felt uncomfortable and sort of creeped out because what he was seeing seemed unnatural and CGIed. I got that same feeling when I saw Nate Robinson swat Yao Ming’s shot down to on Tuesday. I actually felt sorry for Yao. Just watch it, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
8. Tracy at the bat?
In an interview with TNT last week, T-Mac said he is considering retiring from basketball at the end of his current contract and taking up baseball. Apparently he has been working out with another Rocket, Roger Clemens, and is geeked for a return to the diamond. Didn’t we go through this before? Despite being an athletic 2-guard with amazing scoring ability and the penchant for hitting shots in clutch situations, McGrady has avoided the lofty Michael Jordan comparisons, but now he goes and pulls a move like this. I would expect this from Kobe, but not Tracy.
***McExtra: Speaking of Mamba, the e-mails continue to pour in about the man who dropped 40 on the Clippers this week. Joel in L.A. expounded on the subject as if my reader forum was a blue-book exam, and finished with a strong conclusion; “Name one player in the league that has an offensive output as great as Kobe's and then goes shuts down players on the defensive end every game. 1st team All NBA and 1st team defense. Need I say more?” No Joel, you needn't.
9. Dirk’s double-doubles
Dallas has won a remarkable eight games in a row and Dirk Nowitzki has had a double-double in the last seven of those Ws. Dirk is in the prime of his career and is the most versatile talent in the league right now. We take him for granted, but this is a 7-footer who wins the 3-point competition and shoots over 90 percent from the foul line. Big men are not supposed to do that. He averages more than 26 points and nine rebounds over the last three seasons. He is part Larry Bird, part Karl Malone, part Hakeem Olajuwon, part German.
10. Chris Bosh can’t be happy
I always have a tough time choosing the final spot on my list, so I went to the mailbag to let my readers choose it for me. Paolo in Toronto wrote, “Bosh seems like he'll be ready to boot the team if this season is as bad as last season's.” First of all, I love Canadian lingo. “Boot the team” sounds so pleasant. CB4 is averaging 21 and 12 and outplayed LeBron in a battle of 2003 draftees in a win on Wednesday, but even with that victory the Raps are 3-9. There is talent on that team, enough so that Bosh shouldn’t be looking to jump ship and return to the Continental United States. T.J. Ford, Morris Peterson, Fred Jones and Jorge Garbajosa and Andrea Bargnani are players who can win in this league.
Have a question or comment for The McTen or care to share what you learned this week? Get at me.