Monday, May 08, 2006

Happy Monday-Thank God Cinco de Mayo is Over!

Telfair vs. Nash vs. Isiah vs. Stockton.... Cinco de Drinko/Mayo Report below... but first something much more important:

ALS Dinner
Contrary to popular belief and what I am sure will be a topic of discussion on the show today, the biggest thing to happen to me this weekend wasn't the tour of stupidity and frat boy antics that I was able to "enjoy" during Friday's Cinco de Mayo celebration, instead it was the ALS Dinner and Auction that Suke, Dennis Glasgow and I attended on Saturday night. I hate to start on such a serious note today, but it has been awhile since I have been touched as much as Saturday night. This disease is devastating, and it is something that can come quickly-every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, a devastating neuromuscular condition for which there is no known cause or cure. We heard some inspirational stories of hope and courage, but the bottom line is when it strikes, it kills. There is no cure. Most of us think of Lou Gehrig standing in Yankee Stadium thanking the fans-what we don't see is how the illness affects families. We don't see the respirators, wheelchairs, and emotional and financial struggles that go along with this disease. Thanks to the entire group at the ALS Association of Oregon and SW Washington for letting us at The Fan be involved this year. For more information, check out
http://www.alsa-or.org/about.html
In the end, it was an inspiration. We spent some $$$ in the silent auction, had some nice wine, a good dinner, and now know a lot more about this devastating disease. You should learn more about it too. Check out the web site link above.

Nash vs. Stockton vs. Thomas and where does Telfair fit in?
It seems there isn't a sport that is more guilty of playing the COMPARISON GAME than basketball and the NBA. An athlete can't just sinply win an individual award or accomplish something without being compared to other greats at his position or in his sport. Is Kobe the next MJ? Is Lebron the next MJ? Lebron isn't as good as Kobe because he doesn't have the "killer instinct" that Kobe has (or is it had after not closing out the Suns up 3-1?). Who cares? They are all great players in their own right, and in their own different ways.
The latest case in point is Steve Nash. Second straight MVP-only point guard other than Magic to accomplish that feat. Keep in mind though, Magic won it three out of four years. But right away, the comparisons are being made in regards to Nash and Isiah Thomas and even to a lesser extent John Stockton.
I will be now guilty of playing the "comparison game" too and will try to prove how stupid these comparisons really are.
Thomas: came into the league at a different level than any of the others mentioned above. Isiah was an a great college player on a great team, the second overall pick in the draft and the MVP of the 1981 NCAA Tourney when Indiana won the national championship. Right away was a score-first point guard who averaged 17 ppg his first year, and more than 20 the next five years in a row. He averaged more than 10 assists a game only four times in his 13 years, and led the league in assists just one time in his career. But.... he was the MVP in the NBA Finals, a two-time NBA Champion, and three-time all NBA First Team selection.
Stockton: Similar size to Isiah, and two inches shorter than the 6'3 Nash. Came into the league as a mid-first round pick, not as much hype, and didn't make an immediate impact. Averaged less than 10 points and 10 assists a game his first three seasons, but then exploded in his fourth year averaging 14.7 ppg and 13.8 apg. That started a string of nine straight seasons when he led the NBA in assists, and 10 straight seasons averaging a double-double. Stockton never won an MVP award but was a two-time All NBA First Team selection and is the league's career leader in assists and steals.
Nash: the two-time MVP has averaged a double-double each of the last two seasons, but never before that while playing with Dirk in Dallas. Nash, like Stockton, didn't make an immediate impact averaging just 3.3 ppg and 2.1 apg his first season. He averaged less than 10 ppg and 10 apg in each of his first three seasons, and his best scoring season was this year at 18.8 per game. As for his team, he has never won an NBA Championship or even advanced past the conference finals into the NBA Finals. Thomas' Pistons won two titles and Stockton led the Jazz to the NBA Finals twice, losing to Jordan's Bulls both times.
Telfair: One of these things does not go together, one of these guys just doesn't belong.....yet. But lets compare the numbers from the first two years. I will take Thomas out because that isn't a fair fight!

Telfair Year One: 6.8 ppg, 3.3 apg
Telfair Year Two: 9.5 ppg, 3.6 apg

Stockton Year One: 5.6 ppg, 5.1 apg
Stockton Year Two: 7.7 ppg, 7.4 apg

Nash Year One: 3.3 ppg, 2.1 apg
Nash Year Two: 9.1 ppg, 3.4 apg

Look at the numbers in Nash's second year, and Telfair's. Scary similar. But.... here are some other numbers: Nash shot .459 from the field, and .415 from outside the arc. Telfair shot .394 and .352. Both averaged less than two turnovers per game. So can Telfair develop? Who knows? But the numbers tell us point guards can take three to four years to develop. One year from now, we may know if Telfair will be Nash/Stockton or will he be Eric Snow/Anthony Johnson.

Hot Seat and Cino de Mayo
Simply put, "The Seat" is the best place to be on May 5th. But as is the case in Vegas, what goes on at The Seat, stays at The Seat. Be there next year, or just be there for the NBA Draft Party we are hosting on June 28th!

Thank you and goodbye.
Ian