Q (Nick): What team's BIG three will prevail statistically and who's team will prevail in the end? And I'm not talking about PER here either. The answer to the first part of this two part question is the sum of all the tangible stats. Points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks are the only stats that count, and turnovers count negatively!
A (Jeff): Wait, let me get my abacus and slide rule. I think on first Tuesdays in November our big three scores pi times 4 divided by the average distance between Tommy Heinson and the nearest referee. You do the math and let me know how it goes. I'll go on a limb and say I'll take my guys and the over.
A (Jeff): Just one thing? Maybe Doc will find a way to play the starters 50 minutes a night and burn them out by the all star break (wait, that could be considered an injury). Maybe Kevin Garnett will get so intense that his head will actually explode (oops, that's pretty much an injury too). Maybe the Celtics will trade for Nene (insert your own injury joke here). Nope, I've got no non-injury related reasons for worry. Sorry.
Q (Nick): Is there a point in this season, (a goal, team milestone, or something of the like) , that you can honestly say will bring, "Celtic Pride" back to it's heyday?
A (Jeff): "Celtic Pride" should have bypassed DVD and gone straight to the trash. It never had a heyday, just a "what-the-hey?" day. Oh, you weren't talking about the movie?
True Celtic pride is all about the championships. Lots and lots of them actually. I don't think any team will ever again rattle off 11 straight titles, so that is just an unfair standard. I say if they raise a banner then the pride is officially back. Hoist a few of them up there and you start to approach the heyday.
Q (Jeff): Everyone was watching when AI got traded to the Nuggets to be paired with Melo. But the team didn't mesh so well right away. Then in April, things really started to gel. What are some of the things that got things to work so well?
A (Nick): Things really started to click in April because AI started focusing on setting up his teammates for easy scores. The Nuggets were 11-1 in games that Iverson dished double figures in assists in and guys like Nene, Linas, and Eduardo Najera all reaped the benefits. And now that I mentioned them, Nene and Linas both raised their games to new heights in the month of April too. Linas kept re-establishing his career-high in points in a single game with a 29-point crescendo against the Lakers, and by the end of the playoffs Nene had almost played Tim Duncan evenly, statistically speaking.
Q (Jeff): Celtics fans remember Kenyon Martin abusing Antoine Walker in his Nets days. Will we ever see that Kenyon again? What can we reasonably expect from him this year? (Bonus Kenyon question: Is he cool with Karl these days?
A (Nick): Kenyon Martin will never be the same player he was before having double microfracture surgery, so I feel that it’s unfair to use the former K-mart as a measuring stick for the present one. But what I think we can expect out of him this season is going to be a gutsy, 100% effort to help this team win games. Kenyon has been in the NBA’s brightest spotlight before, and if he can bring some of the veteran experience he gained while with the Nets with even a fraction of his old explosiveness he can be invaluable to the Nuggets.
Q (Jeff): I've heard it said that Marcus Camby is overrated as a defender because his block stats come from weak side blocks but he can't stop his own man one-on-one. Is that true or am I overrating his overratedness?
A (Nick): Partially. While I would venture to say that Marcus does tally about half of his swatted shots by swooping in from the weakside, that’s only because about half of all the blocked shots in the entire NBA come from the weakside anyways! Seriously though, the bottom line is this: Marcus Camby is a defensive monster and anyone who doesn’t want to accept it by trying to diminish his abilities as a shot blocker by distinguishing one block from another is really taking the whole stat interpretation to an extreme. The guy rubs out more shots than any other player in the league and that’s all that matters.