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  • George Eddy
    Commentator, Canal + France
    A broadcaster with the Canal + France sports department, George Eddy has covered basketball and the NBA -- in addition to the Olympics and the NFL -- since January 1985. Eddy moved to France from the U.S. in 1977, playing and coaching pro basketball for 12 years. In addition to his on-air broadcasts for Canal +, Eurosport France and others, Eddy has written six books about basketball as well as contributing to numerous magazines and radio stations. Eddy also organizes a shooting camp each summer near Paris.

    Offhanded offseason thoughts
    I don't think Gary Payton sabotaged the Lakers on purpose, but his confidence waned as did the Lakers' against a superior TEAM! His D could no longer fuel his O. Helped little by Shaq on the pick and roll, Payton became an easy target for Chauncey Billups. He stopped attacking and became a poor spot-up shooter, not his role.

    He convinced himself that Phil and the triangle were the problem and Malone was no longer there to give him good passes. Did Phil stay too long with Payton and Malone? Probably. He saw disaster coming and maybe it was his way of shifting the responsibility to their shoulders, or perhaps he didn't feel the other players could get it done. The famous impromptu bathroom meeting was the triangle's last chance but Phil refused the arguments of the historical five. Instead it was Phil's last stand! If he'd accepted, the whole recruiting strategy would have been disavowed. A lineup of Fox, Fish, Shaq, George and Kobe would have had enormous match-up problems anyway.

    It's evident that Larry Brown learned a lot from his friend Greg Poppovich's misfortune vs. LA. He unleashed his athletes and played more up tempo compared to the Indiana series. The Wallaces ran Shaq ragged. Shaq could only perform with two full days rest. Besides LB had more reliable shooters than Pop.

    Because of Malone's injury, I think the Lakers would have lost even if Kobe had made better shot selection, but it would've been closer! Kobe ignored Shaq out of spite and lost confidence in his teammates too early. His low percentage, ugly one-man-show reminded me of Iverson in the 2001 Finals.

    REMEMBER these two b-ball laws Kobe, if you're doubled pass to the open man, and together we conquer, separately we lose! I totally disagree with Sam Smith's assertion that you have to live with Kobe's bad choices because he got you there with his risk taking and miracle shots. Even Kobe told me that some of his choices "stunk!"

    Kobe seems to be following the opposite path of MJ in his career becoming more egocentric as he grows older. Maybe Kobe won too much too soon. What a waste of talent! Now he'll lead an aging and empty Laker house, getting all the shots but no longer playing for the title. As for Shaq who needs to use the free-throw advice I gave him to improve this summer (balance, alignment, trajectory and follow through), I hope he'll realize that to have good teammates he can't eat up all the salary cap!

    Concerning Rasheed, if he leaves Detroit then he's crazier than I thought!

    The only time I saw such an outpouring of love for a title-winning coach (Larry Brown) was when Dean Smith won his first. Nice guys, doing it the right way, do finish first! At the Olympics Brown's challenge will be even tougher. Good luck and I'm gonna take you up on that offer to watch a full practice!

    One last note, besides playing ball with the international and US media people, one of my biggest selfish little pleasures is reading my questions and the player's responses the next day in the world-wide media during the Finals. Not bad for a guy that never made his high school or college team!
    Posted by George Eddy - Jul 2 2004 5:20PM

    Ben Wallace: Man of the People
    Meet Ben Wallace! His hair and boundless energy make him standout in a crowd.

    Surprisingly he's quite erudite and interesting to listen to. No politically correct "player-cliché speak" just the facts as Ben sees them.

    I like that Ben says "We're blue-collar players on a blue-collar team in a blue-collar town."

    Ben says "Man, basketball has been good to me. Look at my poor background, big family, heck to make this kind of money playing it's the best thing since sliced bread for me".

    While poor Rasheed Wallace scrambles his humble image with "nonsense-speak," Ben is down to earth. Both are great teammates and that's the bottom line. They've become winners. Ben has a tattoo of Big Ben on his arm. The early frustration of his career pushed him to listen to his mentor Charles Oakley and to work out two times a day with his college coach in the summer. If Billups is the MVP of the Finals, Ben is the MP as in Military Police. He says if a teammate gets out alive or doesn't give a maximum effort his job is to "round up the strays and get 'em back in the pack!"

    Ben likes Larry Brown because "Larry will come and visit with your family and if you call him in the middle of the night to work on your game, he'll be there."

    Ben is the motor in this elite Detroit vehicle and he uses up a lot of gas! He never stops moving. How could Orlando let this guy go? He's like a 6-8 Darrell Armstrong in his energetic prime. Oh yeah, Orlando lost him too!

    Other news: These finals were tight, hard-fought, intense, close and exciting but if refs made the defenders keep their hands in the air instead of on the dribbler's hip we'd see more baskets. At least the defense isn't dirty! I much prefer these new Bad Boys to the Laimbeer ?Motown crowd. More foot movement and less flagrant fouls.

    Also, I played pick-up ball last Monday at the Palace with the NBA International TV people. The court was real long and the rims real tight: Either you swish it or it bounces to Timbuktu.
    Posted by George Eddy - Jun 18 2004 3:52PM

    The Mailman is the Glue
    Who keeps the Lakers together? It's the 40-year-old
    The important playoff story lines so far:

    Karl Malone's self-sacrifice, genius passing to Shaq, and all-around emotional team glue style of play!

    Add to that his decisive D on Duncan then Garnett and you've got a new over-40 MVP right up in Kareem's league! OK, the refs let him get away with murder...(read later!) What a great winning attitude,though!

    Shaq and Kobe doing their imitation Wilt-Jerry skit. Add Fisher as a poor man's lefty Goodrich clutch shooter and Malone as Happy Hairston , we're back in '72! Shaq's a rebounding and swatting mammoth, smartly leaving the tiring shot-forcing to greedy young buck Kobe as did Wilt in his day. Kobe as usual is making smarter choices in the playoffs when the games count more. He's the best one on one player and clutch shooter in the NBA.His catch and accelerate move is only equalled by his drive left and dish to big man move.

    In LA, when a Fish, Rush or George hits his 3s it's over! That's what San Anton couldn't muster. And LA's money time D at home is back to the three-peat level. Example: game 6 vs. Minnesota, the Wolves didn't look like they believed they could win. Against the killer instinct champs of the league that won't get it done!

    Phil Jackson's- loosen the triangle and tighten the rectangle strategy- has been brillant!

    Question: Is the overall defensive and super-physical style of these playoffs what we want to see in the future? I personally feel the NBA has made two major historical mistakes with the game.

    First, overemphasis on individual stars (the Hollywood star system) for marketing purposes. This has been largely rectified since MJ's departure.

    And secondly, letting America's over-attraction for violence push the league towards overly physical play. Get the defenders hands off the offensive players, it's as simple as that. Malone used the rules to hold Duncan then KG most of the time.

    Low scores are not the zones' fault, San Antonio and Detroit never play zone. All the evolutions in modern sports tend to favor the defense. Scouting, video preparation, weight training, younger players, make it much easier to destruct than construct. Games with few buckets, tons of free throws and so many fouls the refs stop calling them are not the rosy future of beautifully played basketball games!

    Despite all that, LAKERS IN 6!
    Posted by George Eddy - Jun 4 2004 5:40PM

    Here's the woulda, shoulda, and coulda of the Spurs elimination by the Lakers!
    The Spurs shoulda: run more in the 4 losses. They were overly controlled, reigned in, stifled by the pressure they were feeling from all directions. Parker and Ginobili are uptempo open court players who get bogged down in the half-court game. Unleash the thouroughbreds Pop! In the 2 wins the Spurs led 35 to 7 on fast break points!

    Why didn't they at least try a little more zone when Shaq was dominating, and try to fast break out of it. Of course the Lakers sent 3 or 4 back on defense but a more uptempo game coulda tired the Lakers old warriors more. If you can stoop to hack-a-shaq you can stoop to a zone!

    They shoulda found a way to convince Stephen"never afraid to shoot"Jackson to stay even though the outcome was mostly his stupid mistake! And keep Kerr around as a player and
    shooting coach of the Spurs.

    VOILA! The key word, shooting! Now you see why I organize a shooting camp in Paris! And all the Spurs need to attend! What a disaster. They never figured how to combat Phil Jackson's tactical superiority.They coulda dribbled in and shoot 2's instead of continually bricking 3's that the Lakers were begging them to take!The terrible irony for Parker is that his French national team didn't qualify for the Olympics for the same reason- poor outside shooting. Catch and shoot, dribble and shoot, in the rythmn of the game without hesitating like Devin"I've got nothing to lose" Brown.That's what they lacked! Bowen, Turk, Parker and Gino looked so afraid to shoot it was pitiful! And didn't Ward use to hit some clutch 3's for the Knicks? Where was he? Other keys to the Spur's demise were: recruiting Nesterovic instead of Brad Miller or Jermaine O'Neal, excluding Rose when Horry,Turkoglou and Nesterovic were out of sync, Shaq's Chamberlain style defense, swooning to long over Kidd whose a poor shooter and an uptempo player anyway, Kobe's clutch shooting and newfound team spirit, Phil ditching the triangle and crowding the lane. And don't tell me Fisher's lucky shot was the whole story because Duncan's was just as lucky and more importantly the Lakers led most of game 5 anyway!

    In conclusion I wonder if the Spurs did enough shooting drills and free throw drills while fatigued at warm-ups and morning shootarounds the way Kerr and Ferry did intelligently last year. And Pop needs to add some speed, fantasy and improvisation to his stereotyped offense but since he only seems to care about defense who know's what will happen? The only good news for French fans saddened by homeboy Parker's elimination is that they won't have to risk sitting through a Spurs-Pistons copycat boredom b-ball low score a-thon in the Finals!
    Posted by George Eddy - May 17 2004 1:19PM

    It's end of the regular season brownie-point distribution time!
    - Best at profiting from being in the east-Indiana
    - Best initial fast break- NJ
    - Best transition quick shot offense-Dallas small ball squad
    - Best forget me around the hoop and you'll pay player -Jamison
    - Best passing game- Lakers,Kings, Spurs when everyone's happy and healthy!
    - Best commentators- Steve Kerr and Tom Tolbert( without Karl as sidekick)
    - Best D as in Detroit (San Anton 2nd)
    - Best recruiting moves-Brad foundmyroleMiller Starfoundmyhomebury Rasheed foundmyheadWallace Turkofoundmyshotoglu Andre foundagoodteamMiller
    - Best squeezers of every drop of team's potential-Hubie Jerry and Jeff
    - Most unfair fan reaction- Sac sacking C-Webb(10 months out, you need 10 to get all the way back in!)
    - Best shooter-Peja
    - Best clutch shooter-Kobe
    - Best penetrating pair- Ginobili and Parker
    - Best playground phenom made good-Rafer foundmea3ptshotAlston!
    - Best managers to handle a poor family's budget - Popovich and Dumars
    - Best coach-destroyers Kidd AI and Ricky Davis
    - Best arrogant bunch with a good chance of becoming champs-Lakers
    - Best fan magnet -Le bon Lebron!
    - Best chance of choking in the playoffs-Sac( I hate to say it cuz I like their game!)
    - Best ratings magnet in finals Lakers-Pacers Worst-Spurs-Pistons (as Chocolate Thunder would say"drop-dead defensive destruction")

    Posted by George Eddy - Apr 13 2004 9:34AM

    Some recent thoughts...
    Mark my word...the NBA will be in Europe by 2012!
    The newest french NBA-hopeful is Ronny Turiaf. He has nothing left to prove at the NCAA level. He's a member of the Parker-Diaw generation, european juniors champions, out of the excellent school of the fundamentals in Paris called INSEP. The NBA team that drafts him would be smart to let him play and progress in Europe a few years instead of bench warming in the league like Moiso. Turiaf is a future Brian Grant.

    Are the Spurs as good as last season? They're less experienced even though Duncan and Parker are as good as last season. The two are often tired and hurt however because of their fatiguing summers playing with their national teams. Turkoglu and Ginobili are pluses; But the spurs inconsistent outside shooting and free throw shooting could hurt them in the playoffs.

    Some questions remain. Will Nesterovic be as efficient when Duncan returns? Will Pop finally forgive Parker for the Kidd episode? Will San Antonio be able to sign Parker and Ginobili to sufficient contracts at the end of the season? Or Will they go after Kobe?

    Sacramento seems armed to the teeth to be champions, but it all may depend on whether Bibby can make the last shot when Stojakovic and Webber are trembling?

    Signing Rasheed Wallace in Detroit was as smart as transferring Marbury to New York. Sheed knows it's his last chance and if Larry Brown could coach Iverson he can coach the carolina alum Wallace. Rasheed fills alot of detroit's gaps, and now the Pistons have the best inside tandem in the East. When the playoffs slow down New Jersey's running game and accentuate the Pacer's youth and inexperience, the Wallaces could qualify Detroit for the NBA Finals.

    If Jerry Sloan isn't elected coach of the year, they should stop giving the trophy!
    As Phil Jackson says, he's deserved it for years! its interesting to me how sloan, a typical american-farmer and pure product of the NBA finds such affinities with the fundamentally sound foreign players on his roster. Oil and water do mix! The foreigners good shooting and teamwork led by the best all-around player in the league, Kirilenko, fit in perfectly with Sloan's rigourous offensive schemes and team defence.

    I just don't feel like the Lakers are gonna get it done, this season ...I'll bet the Orlando scouts regret not having listened to me when i told them to draft Tony Parker instead of Jerryl Sasser!
    On the other hand I did tell the Knick's scouts to draft Frederic Weis! The poor guy was NBA material before he slipped a disk in his back.

    If the scouts are listening , you won't be disappointed if you draft the frenchys, Ronny Turiaf and Johan Petro or give a real chance to Michael Pietrus's brother Florent.

    Note these names! Bodiroga, Jasikevicius, Macijauskas, Oberto, Nocioni, Scola. All of these Euroleague (shown now on NBA TV in the US)

    Stars would have an immediate positive impact on any NBA franchise! Hey, Bobcats, are you reading this!

    It's simple! If good TV commentary signifies putting the right word on the right picture at the right moment then winning basketball: signifies passing the ball around and setting picks until a high pourcentage shooter gets a good look!
    Posted by George Eddy - Mar 9 2004 10:06AM

    Some remarks about All-Star Weekend
    What's going on (Marvin Gaye reference !) with the Rookie Challenge ?
    Don't the young bucks realize that playing D is part of the game ? Their elders showed on Sunday the Happy medium between "no D" and "enough D" for an All Star Game. Hey young Fellas, blocks and steals are spectacular too. 48 dunks is an overdose and renders the dunk banal. Old timers like West and Russell were right to wish for a more competitive Rookie Game. Hey they're young, they 'll learn. If Melo and King James wanted to offer a premature dunk contest to the Fans, they should have participated in the real Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday.

    My idea to bring the Stars back to the Dunk Contest is to put up a few hundred thousand dollars that the winner donates to the charity of his choice. Also let's organize a parellel competition to designate one non-NBA dunker to participate. Preliminaries could be held all over the world !

    Why didn't Ray Allen (former winner), Michael Redd (record holder with 8 3pointers in one quarter) and Kobe Bryant (record holder with 12 3pointers in one game) participate in the 3 pt shootout to give it more star power, (see solution for dunk contest !)

    The shooting stars and skills competition were Ok but too short ! Make'em go around twice so we can settle in to watching once we've understood the rules !

    Speaking of shooting, after seeing the All-Star's shoot 14 of 46 from 3 point range and 12 for 21 from the Free Throw line, I'm offering free admission to my shooting camp in Paris to any NBA player who wants to improve his balance, catch, alignment ,arc and follow through capabilities ! Shaq and Tim are you listening !

    Now for the positives !

    The All Star Game was a Star-studded b-ball fest ! Shaq was a superieur clown, play maker, and finisher. The tandems Kidd-Martin and Francis-Ming were superbe. Iverson and Garnett were altruistic, Kobe ferocious as usual. Wallace and Artest played D ; their game.
    My only question ; Why did the europeans play so little ? A Flip Saunders plot ? Peja, Dirk and Andrei never got in the flow. Only Yao, the new golden boy for the immense chinese market got his shots.
    The NBA needs to promote guys like Stojakovic more to the american public. He should've been leading vote-getter for guards in the west with 25,8 points per game (3rd in the NBA) way ahead of Francis and Kobe, instead of stuck behind Duncan and Garnett as a forward. By the way, Kobe's recent downturn in popularity ressembles what happened to Isiah Thomas with the Bad Boys. Their big smiles just stopped seeming authentic, I guess ...

    Let me finish by saying that NBA international's hospitality and organizational skills were top notch. The on court entertainment, The parties were Super Bowl level, the Jam session, our front row commentator positions, the hotel, the buses, the volunteers, everything was perfect. Even the Sunday morning media pick up games with guest star Darryl Dawkins were great ! And I'm not saying that just because I made eleven 3 point shots !
    Posted by George Eddy - Feb 26 2004 10:09AM

    Greetings from Los Angeles
    Some thoughts heading into All-Star...
    How dumb is it to consider Tim Duncan boring? Duncan lacks street cred, they say. His game isn't flashy. His interviews are dull. Bull-loney! When companies start paying big merchandising deals to fundamentally-sound, good-citizen, title-winning, ball-players, who give up front answers without cartoon character vocabulary (yeah, that's you, Shaq), THEN we'll know our modern day consumer society has taken a turn for the better! Was Bill Russell of any of the old Celtics (except for Cousy) considered flashy? Now they are a standard by which to compare all others.

    Isn't Jerry West amazing? As a player, he was one of the greatest guards and shooters of all time despite the fact that he never learned to go left! OK, he's too much of a stress junkie for coaching, but as a team builder, he's unreal. The key is he surrounds himself with people who want to win as much as he does! Despite internal tensions, the one thing you could say about West's "Magic-Jabbar" or "Shaq-Kobe" Lakers' teams, is they wanted to win! Now, if Jerry can get Hubie Brown and Bonzi Wells to row the boar in the same direction, then he's a certified genius!

    Is Danny Ainge trying to outdo Pitino or what? He took a decent playoff team and destroyed it in record time. Didn't Jim O'Brien, the rebuilder of the franchise, deserve to have more input? When Danny kidnapped and tore his baby apart, O'Brien did the honorable thing in resigning, Kudos to him.

    And in New Jersey, the players shamelessly dogged it, profiting from Scott's lame-duck status to get him fired. So, the patients took over the asylum and, Oh! What a surprise?they won ten in a row making Lawrence "OPIE" Frank look like a genius. J-Kidd seems to eat up coaches like a future heart-attack victim gobbles up butter! Maybe it's because the coaches asked Jason to stick around for some extra shooting practice?

    I'll be Jordan's sorry he didn't buy the Bucks the way Terry Porter has turned them around. The NBA needs Michael's presence, not his long distance absentee management style like his first year in Washington. Isiah has at least outdone Michael recently with his "hands-on" style in New York.

    The NBA needs to open up the slam dunk contest to non-NBA guys who are specialists. In France we have the "Slam Nation" group?they're the best in the world! Hey, remember when the non-NBA Lithuanian shooter Kourtinaitis took part in the three-point contest? Opening up the dunk contest would be good for "street cred" too.

    It's interesting the way Iverson's size, courage and style of play have finally made him "main stream."

    Nice guys finished first last season (The Spurs) so maybe this season it's Sacramento's or Dallas' turn?

    Did you know that Greg "Rambo" Poppovich was a wine connoisseur?

    Let's invent some new STATS! (Dean Smith would love this?)

    BO Blocking Out
    PBA The pass before the assist
    RTT Rebounds tipped to teammates
    HO Helping out (not a rap lyric!)
    CT Charges taken
    POBS Provoking opponent's bad shot
    BDO Balls dived on
    BET Benchwarmers encouraging teammates
    Posted by George Eddy - Feb 17 2004 11:15AM

    From French commentator's point of view...
    Things to like and dislike about the NBA so far this season...
    From French commentator's point of view, whose motto for TV announcing is a max of content in a minimum of words.

    Things to like about the NBA so far this season :

    The early-season "LAKERS-BEATLES" harmony (Teamwork).
    The ROCKETS Van Gundy-esque defense.
    Sacramento and Dallas internationally-Flavored offense.
    Boris DIAW's P.T. and Pippenesque style.
    Tony PARKER's passing skills.
    KG's MVP Season.
    Isiah THOMAS's sly trade for MARBURY.
    Memphis's and Denver's winning trajectory.
    the Midwest Division.
    Antoine WALKER's passing and rebounding, JAMISON's pourcentage.
    Indiana and Detroit, beasts of the East, team play.
    VANDEWEGHE and BZDELIK, Jason WILLIAMS and Pau GASOL. David STERN's win streak. NBA Chartity work.
    Those who play to win, not just to shine.
    D. ROBINSON's dignified departure.
    The Dallas player's "down to earthedness".

    Things to dislike :

    The LAKERS's showtime-stopping injury streak !
    Portland's road record, police record, and WALLACE's on the record
    The SPURS struggling on offense.
    PIETRUS, MOISO and ABDUL WAHAD's lack of P.T.
    DUNCAN's and SHAQ's freethrow style. C'mon guys, get under the ball and shoot it up not out, please !
    The Atlantic Division !
    Bill WALTON's "Everything was better in the old days" spiel.
    Danny AINGE's trades.
    MJ's absence.
    The Playoffs format. Let's go to qualifying Top the 16 regardless of
    Division or Conference. To heck with tradition, the best should play the best in Playoffs.
    Byron SCOTT's lame duck status.
    Coaches's fired when its the GM's fault.
    Bling bling, arrogance and selfishness.
    Anti-France sentiment (woops ! wrong subject)
    MAGIC, CLIPS, HAWKS, Portland, Chicago, Washington, Golden State, Phoenix.
    What goes around doesn't always come back around.
    Posted by George Eddy - Jan 27 2004 12:00PM