that's a good column. i was a mda fan when he came in, but i really don't think he's done himself any favors this year. it's been a series of tough situations (coming in with the season started; lots of injuries; one of the three or four toughest markets in the league). but he can't seem to find a way to make the major pieces fit (howard/gasol/nash/bryant) and the way players fall in and out of favor with his rotations i think is a real morale dump. Jamison, Duhon, Ebanks, Meeks, Morris ... players go from starters to 0 minutes at what seems to be a whim, and the one thing they all say is that d'antoni's not telling them what they're doing wrong or what they need to improve. it's all the way up to gasol now. howard is a great talent, no doubt, but some games he just checks out. last night he got stripped down low at least 4-5 times. and one time kobe drove and dished him the ball and hit him in the back because he wasn't paying attention.
This article got me laughing. Me my friends used to joke around on who we could beat or come close to beating in the NBA and they always say Scalabrine (no joke) or Madsen and I always tell them they had no clue what the hell they were talking about because NBA players surpass D-League and I told them probably couldn't even beat most of the lower division college player but they always laughed at me. And then I read this and there was doubt in my mind that most fo my friends that were talking won't even score a basket against any NBA players.
Brian Scalabrine dominated the competition in Boston one-on-one challenge
Over 11 NBA seasons, journeyman forward Brian Scalabrine cultivated an image of a regular guy who just happened to play basketball. Eventually, many fans came to believe that Scalabrine was an Average Joe, not an elite athlete (as all NBA players are), and figured that he probably wasn't that great at the profession that earned him tens of millions of dollars. This summer, Scalabrine said that he resented this suggestion (even if he also heartily embraced the regular guy image), and in December he challenged any Boston-area amateur basketball players to games of one-on-one.
On Monday, Scalabrine faced four hand-picked competitors. He destroyed them all. From CBS Boston (via TBJ):
Scalabrine, who retired over the summer after a very serviceable 11-year NBA career, took on four of Boston’s best ballers in 98.5 The Sports Hub’s 1-on-1 “Scallenge,” put on by morning hosts Toucher & Rich.
Listeners sent in their try-out videos, showing off their skills and talking some trash towards Scal, but it turns out even Boston’s best was no match for Scalabrine. [...]
Scalabrine — who spent the last few seasons of his career seen as the “human victory cigar” — easily defeated all four of his opponents, throwing down monstrous jams and sinking smooth jumpers as he beat them all by a combined score of 44-6.
That link also features a 30-minute video of the action, and it becomes very clear very quickly that Scalabrine is on another level from these athletes. Even against decent competition — the first challenger, Matt Tomaszewski, was on Syracuse's roster just last season — Scalabrine owned everyone. The second and third games were both shutouts, and the six points scored included one two-pointer. In four games, Scalabrine conceded just five baskets.
This full-scale domination isn't terribly surprising, because it really is amazingly difficult to play in the NBA for 11 seasons. Scalabrine managed to do so in part because he found a role as a good teammate, which made him more valuable than his talent may have suggested, but even then he was in competition with an exceedingly small group of potential employees. The idea that any random weekend warrior could challenge him is ridiculous.
We are only left to wonder why this challenge was necessary in the first place. For that, Scalabrine has to look at himself. While no fan should ever feel like he's on the same athletic plane as a professional athlete, the fact of the matter is that some pros embrace that image because it provides them new opportunities. Without it, Scalabrine probably never would have gotten his current job as an analyst for CSN New England. He deserves more respect than he's been given, but there are also identifiable reasons for why he doesn't always get it.
i used to run regularly with one of the guys on the USC team. guy almost never played (he did have a scholarship though) for a school that wasn't even competitive at the time in D1, much less the NCAA. dude could still run the table playing with any four scrubs, that's how big the difference is between even marginal athletes at that level and the best playground ballers.
of course, things are probably different in places like DC and NY. this was suburban LA
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