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News » Carter can't save Magic from tough loss vs. Heat


Carter can't save Magic from tough loss vs. Heat


Carter can't save Magic from tough loss vs. Heat

I think he'd be an All-Star.

Who among the NBA's resident centers could possibly trump his defense?

Dwight Howard's offense and court awareness are too limited. Shaq is old and in the way. Russell would steal Chris Bosh's allowance.

How would Russell do against Kendrick Perkins? Andrew Bogut? Greg Oden? Jermaine O'Neal? Chris Kaman? Luis Scola? Samuel Dalembert? Emeka Okafor? Al Jefferson?

Puh-leeze!

Russell would certainly have his hands full guarding Tim Duncan, simply because of TD's versatility. Yet Russell's speed and quickness would eventually give him the edge. Pau Gasol's smarts, tricky moves, long limbs and exceptional left hand would also provide a severe test for Russell. Plus, Gasol can also run the floor.

When healthy, Yao Ming would literally present Russell's biggest challenge. But I guarantee Russ would swat at least three to four of Yao's shots per game. That's because Russell's quick ups enabled him to stay grounded until the ball left the shooter's hands — and still get a piece of the shot. Moreover, Russell had the knack of not only blocking a shot, but also gaining possession.

As far as team defense is concerned, Russell could still protect the basket better than any extant NBA center. His defensive rotations would be peerless. Furthermore, he'd be an effective defender even when forced to switch onto a wing or guard in high screen/roll sequences.

No question about it, if he played today Bill Russell would still be the league's most dominant defensive center.

And he's 75 years old!

Straight Shooting

Here's a rundown of the least skilled — but not necessarily the worst — players in the NBA.

Reggie Evans is an undersized power guy whose only offensive weapon is a put-back. He gets by on hustle, determination and muscle.

Fabricio Oberto can't shoot, run, jump or defend. But he sets solid screens, looks to pass, executes game plans and is a nice guy.

Brad Miller isn't nearly as tough as he looks and could be the slowest big in the league. His jumper and his smarts have enabled him to carve out an outstanding career.

Sean Marks has good hands and is usually in the right place at the right time.

Jerome James may be a stiff, but he's a very big stiff.

Adonal Foyle practices hard and is always ready to lay some lumber on the nearest opponent.

Ryan Hollins can't pass, shoot or overpower anybody. His only gift is being big and being quick. Sort of a poor man's Joakim Noah.

Aaron Gray is strong, slow and mostly floor-bound. He's lucky that he's a 7-footer.

Ryan Bowen is a defensive specialist. Too bad he can't do anything else and can't play specialized defense without committing a foul every two minutes or so.

Hasheem Thabeet is best described in a line from "Big Boss Man," a song written by blues man Jimmy Reed and made popular by the Grateful Dead: "He's just tall, that's just about all."

Travels with Charley

In his current incarnation, Bobby Sack is a highly respected New York lawyer. But before he became a barrister, he was a hot-shooting forward for Hunter College — and was one of my most treasured basketball buddies.

He measured 6-5, 230 in his prime, and despite his rather soft and roundish physique, he was a surprisingly good leaper. But corner shots, sturdy screens and a working knowledge of the game were his primary assets.

Even though Bobby preceded me on the Hunter varsity by three years, we often played together in various informal scrimmages all over the Big Apple.

We still speak on the phone periodically, but I'll never forget the last time I saw him in person: During a training camp session before my first (and only) season as head coach of the Albany Patroons. Bobby happened to be in Albany trying to untangle some complicated legal business and asked if he could watch practice.

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Absolutely!

So he showed up wearing a spiffy blue suit, silk necktie, gold cufflinks, shiny city shoes — the works. And he sat himself in the first row of the bleachers directly across the court from the scorer's table. Practice was already underway, so we made brief hand signals signifying that we'd have lunch once the session was over.

But as the Patroons went through their paces, I noticed that Bobby was very fidgety. Sure enough, while the players were taking a water break, Bobby grabbed a loose ball, ran out onto the court and — without taking off his jacket or even loosening his tie — took a short running start and then dunked the ball.

The players applauded, but Bobby was embarrassed, and spent most of our luncheon apologizing for "disrupting" the practice. "I just couldn't help myself," he said.

I mean, this guy was a true hoop-o-maniac.

This state of affairs greatly discomforted his lovely wife, Marlene, when they first were married. Not only did Bobby have to watch every game that was on the tube, but he also had regular Sunday morning runs at C.W. Post College, played in scrimmages against college teams that were coached by various friends of his, to say nothing of participating in numerous semi-pro tournaments all over the area.

When she said, "I do," little did Marlene know that she was also consenting to be a basketball widow.

In any case, after a few months of quietly enduring Bobby's hoop-o-mania, she became totally distraught. Crying and sobbing, she said to Bobby, "You love basketball more than you love me."

In response, Bobby uttered this immortal line: "But, sweetheart, I love you more than baseball."


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 26, 2009

 

 
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