A Few Thoughts 02/21/17

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

I don’t want to sound too “Get-Off-My-Lawnish,” but the simple fact is I thought the NBA All-Star Game was garbage. 192-182? Anthony Davis breaking Wilt’s scoring record with 18 unmolested dunks? Eight free throw attempts ? Steph Curry lying down covering his head? No thanks.
Looks like there are three kinds of people in the world. There are those who think that this game is exactly what a 2017 NBA All-Star Game should be. There are those who don’t care about any All-Star Games, and therefore don’t care what they do. And there are those who love the game of basketball and would prefer to see the best players engage in at least semi-serious competition. Guess which group I identify with?
Let’s establish something. These NBA All-Stars can all dunk. I get it. But after a while it becomes a case of once you’ve seen one guy throw the ball off the backboard so the other guy can dunk it, you get the point. It gets old in a hurry. And this ludicrous exercise Sunday night consisted almost exclusively of matching dunks, interspersed with three-pointers. It was a neither “entertaining ”nor “fun,” at least not to my way of thinking.   Look, I am on record as saying that past All-Star Games weren’t always great shows. But many of them were, and I was gratified when I instructed people to seek out as an example of what I was talking about the 1987 game in Seattle, and many did just that. Hey, it wasn’t a defensive clinic, either, with the West beating the East, 154-149 in OT. But it was legitimate basketball competition featuring the likes of Kareem, Magic, Larry, Michael, Moses, Doctor J, Isiah, Hakeem and many other greats and you could see the pride manifested in their performance. It was a truly great show. We could have that now if this crop hadn’t decided they’d rather make the game into an extension of the Dunk and Three-Point Contests, and nothing else. What fascinates me is that people actually pay money to see it. I had to watch it because I knew we’d be discussing it Monday on “Around The Horn,” but I couldn’t wait until it was over so I could turn out the lights and go to bed.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

But the All Star Game didn’t turn out to be the big topic of Monday conversation. Nope, the name on everyone’s lips was Boogie Cousins. Hey, what with all the endless chatter over the past year about what the Kings might wind up doing with their controversial Big, whoever thought he’d wind up playing alongside the Unibrow himself? No one saw that coming. And it turns out that I was wasting my time dreaming about him her becoming a Boston Celtic. The Celtics have made it clear they never had any interest in him. Anyway, this is the most intriguing big man partnership since the marriage of an aging David Robinson and a young Tim Duncan in San Antonio at the end of the 20th century. This  time we are talking about 26-year old Cousins and an Anthony Davis who turns 24 on March 11. We’ll see how long they remain teammates, but in the short run I can’t wait to see it because each man is an inside-outside threat who is at least an adequate passer. I’d say rim protection should not be an issue in New Orleans for the tine being. as to how far they can go, the ceiling may not be too high for this season since if they wind up as the number 8 team they would be facing Golden State in the first round. And they still have to ratchet things up just to make the post-season. As for the Kings, fast approaching the 66th anniversary of the franchise’s one-and-only title (surely you are up on the 1951 Rochester Royals), the Kings are the Kings are the Kings, if you know what I mean.

As for the Celtics, based on no inside information whatsoever, I am predicting that when the trade deadline expires this coming Thursday Danny Ainge will still have that Nets 2017 number one pick. But if he does move it for Jimmy Butler, and everyone in the office is tied up, I’d be willing to pick him up at the airport.

Mr. LaVar Ball isn’t exactly shy, is he? Too bad he doesn’t understand that publicly proclaiming that  his son Lonzo is already better than Steph Curry is placing way too much pressure on the young man.  Lonzo says that’s just his dad being his dad and it’s OK, but he’ll see. The kid is fun to watch, though.

Brian Daboll has just gone from tight ends coach under Bill Belichick to offensive coordinator for Nick Saban. When he’s done with that he can go work for Gregg Popovich. After that he can join forces with Joe Maddon. He might as well touch all the best-in-the-business bases.

I bet there’s a good Division II or Division III basketball game being played somewhere near you this week. Check it out.

Bob Ryan

Award-winning writer for the Boston Globe and contributor to ESPN Sports Reporters.

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