Thursday, October 06, 2005


Player Preview - Buckets

Let’s face it, when you’re on your third or fourth NBA team in only six years to start your career, you are either a solid journeyman with no talent (Kevin Ollie, Adrian Griffin), a first round-pick with skills and no brain (Darnell Harvey, DerMarr Johnson), or an above average athlete with baggage (Ruben Patterson, Lamar Odom). Having worn out his welcome in more than one NBA city, Ricky Davis parties with Ruben and Lamar on this list.

GM’s can’t help themselves from acquiring these talented distractions with the vague hope that a ‘change of scenery’ will change their attitude. I loved the initial trade that brought our cornrowed friend to the C’s mostly because it signaled that Danny was through with the 3 and D bullshit, and he was bringing in guys to run. I subsequently latched on to Davis as my hatred of Pierce increased. He was the smiling, sometimes goofy but always energetic flash compared to the sulking, prodding Pierce. He is the Ernie to Pierce’s Bert.

Funny thing happened along the way. Ricky the athlete turned into Ricky the basketball player. Will the maturation continue?

Sugar Free Kool Aid Prediction

This one is hard for me to write, since I believe the Ricky of the last two months of last year is the best possible role for both him as a player and this year’s team. By February, Ricky was locked into his role as a sixth man while earning the trust of his teammates who started looking for him, rather than Pierce, at big moments. Ricky’s curl off the pick at the elbow became the only discernable half-court offensive play. Over the last two months, Ricky averaged over 18 a game, 2.5 assists and 3.5 boards in just under 35 minutes. Should we expect more? I don’t think so. Perhaps a little more focus on defense would be nice, not just when he anticipates a potential highlight breakaway dunk from a steal. I love Ricky just the way he is; I’m afraid that any increased role may backfire.
Stats: 35 min, 18, 3, 3, 45% from the field, 40% from three

Blount (2004-2005) Prediction

This is also hard for me to write, as the move I want the most (trade Pierce) may be the worst possible development for Ricky. Pierce is traded after a couple of months of losing, whining and bitterness. A wayward team looks to its most talented remaining player, Ricky, for guidance and offense. An ill-equipped Ricky shows little leadership on the court, and the only guidance he offers the young guys is which narcotic goes well with fish (ecstasy). Ricky gets the opponent’s best D-man while the rest of the C’s stand and watch him try to dribble through a maze of defenders. He quickly loses interest, mails in the rest of the season, gets ‘best player on a bad team’ type stats, and gets caught trying to submit Reed’s pee during a drug test.
Stats: 38 min, 19.5, 2, 2, 39% from the field, 33% from three

Doom Prediction

Ricky embraces his increased popularity with little humility, but without maliciousness. He basks in the glow of acceptance for truly the first time in his career. There will be some Ricky moments, some inappropriate hot-dogging and trash talking, but his productivity and positive attitude will enhance his growing popularity. Ricky starts on the bench, but plays more minutes than anyone on the team. There is tension between Ricky and the Pierce as the young guys (sans Reed) support the guy who has been with them all summer, culminating in a Pierce meltdown in some practice we will hear rumors about but never hear the true story. The team finally commits to a motion offense, with Ricky getting the ball exactly where he wants it coming off a pick. I’m sugar free Kool Aid on this one, Ricky is going to have a great year.
Stats: 35 min, 18, 3, 3, 45% from the field, 40% from three

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